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Absa and Standard Bank involved in Price fixing scandal

By Danielle van Wyk

The latest scandal to have hit the banking world comes in the form of the Competition Commission recommending the apprehension and prosecution of 17 international banks. This based on the grounds of collusion of trading in foreign currency.

Implicated in the list are three local banks, Absa, Standard Bank and Investec. The case has been referred to the Competition Tribunal and could see the banks having to face hefty fines and possible jail time for their directors.

The South African probe into price fixing and trading of foreign currency pairs involving the rand reportedly began in 2015. According to the Commission, since 2007 the banks had been conspiring on prices for bids and offers in relation to currency trading involving the rand/dollar currency pairings.

“[The Competition Commission] said that it had recommended fines against Nomura International, Standard Bank and Investec, among others, equalling 10% of their annual turnover for the collusion,” reported Business Report.

The referral, however, will allow for the banks to plead their case. “The referral of this matter to the Tribunal marks a key milestone in this case, as it now affords the banks an opportunity to answer for themselves,” Thembinkosi Bonakele, the commissioner of the Competition Commission told Business Report.

Both Investec and Absa have agreed to cooperate with the Commission’s investigation.

“Besides Nomura, Standard Bank and Investec, other implicated banks include Absa, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, BNP Paribas, Barclays and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Standard New York Securities, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays Capital, Macquarie Bank, Credit Suisse Group, Commerzbank and Barclays Capital,” reported Business Report.

For more information on the investigation, click here. 


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