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South African Watchdog Accuses 17 Banks of Currency Rate Fixing

South African Watchdog Accuses 17 Banks of Currency Rate Fixing

Sixteen local and worldwide banks are facing fines of up to 10% of their annual turnover after the Competition Commission chose to prosecute them for colluding to fix prices and allocate markets while trading foreign currency from 2007. "During this year, the Department of Economic Development will bring legislation to Cabinet that will seek to amend the Competition Act to address the need to have a more inclusive economy and to de-concentrate the high levels of ownership and control we see in many sectors".

Sign up to our daily newsletter for your chance to win. Major worldwide banks have had to pay billions of dollars in fines since a global scandal in 2013 over rigging foreign exchange markets.

A member of the African National Congress Youth League protests in front of ABSA Bank against what they argue is the bank benefiting from an apartheid-era bailout, in Durban, South Africa, January 26.

The list includes Investec, JP Morgan, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse Group, Commerzbank AG, Standard New York Securities Inc, Macquarie Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, ANZ Banking Group Ltd, Standard Chartered Plc and Barclays Africa (Absa), part of the Barclays Plc.

The SARB said at the time of the launch of the Competition Commission's investigation, a joint SARB and Financial Services Board (FSB) process was already underway to review foreign exchange operations of authorised foreign exchange dealers in the domestic market. The banks were said to have manipulated the bids by stepping back from certain bids and even creating fictitious bids and offers, a statement by the commission said.


Investec said it would cooperate with authorities but was unable to comment further because it didn't have details of their investigations.

The South African rand has almost halved in value against the U.S. dollar over the past five years, as the country goes through an economic crisis. The tribunal will now notify the banks of the complaint and ask them to respond, Chantelle Benjamin, a spokesman for the body, said by phone.

"We believe collusion around South Africa's currency is treacherous and should be treated as such". Zuma has suggested that Standard Bank, Barclays Africa Group Ltd., FirstRand Ltd. and Nedbank Group Ltd. may have colluded when they closed accounts operated by companies controlled by members of the Gupta family, who are his friends and are in business with his son.

It has now referred the case to the tribunal for prosecution.


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