JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua)
-- The South African
Competition Commission said Wednesday they have referred
17 banks to their tribunal for prosecution of collusion.
Among the 17
banks, 3 of them are South Africa’s biggest banks who
face prosecution of collusion for price fixing of the
South African rand.
country’s consumer watchdog has been investigating the
banks for the past two years and has resolved to refer
the case to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution.
Competition Commission said the banks manipulated the
price for bids and offers through an agreement to
abstain from trading and creating fake bids and offers
at given times. The collusion happened through groups
African Banks involved in collusion includes Standard
Bank of South Africa, Absa and Investec. The foreign
banks involved are JP Morgan Chase Bank, Barclays
Capital, Barclays Bank, HSBC Bank and Bank of America
Merril Lynch International, among others.
Bonakele, one of the Commissioners from the Competition
Commission said “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
Commission said the banks had a general agreement to
collude on prices for bids, offers and bid-offer spreads
for the spot trades in relation to currency trading
involving U.S. dollar and rand currency pair.
the Commission, some banks used trading platforms such
as the Reuters currency trading platform to carry out
their collusive activities. Some used Bloomberg instant
messaging system (chatroom), telephone conversation and
had meetings to coordinate their bilateral and
multilateral collusive trading activities. The banks
coordinated trading times and helped each other to reach
Commission applied to the Tribunal to declare that the
17 banks as having contravened the Competition Act and
are liable for the payment of an administrative penalty
equal to 10 percent of their annual turnover.
African ruling party, African National Congress
spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the actions by the banks
are an attack on the constitutional mandate of the South
African Reserve Bank to protect the value of the South
National Congress takes an extremely dim view of the
activities of the listed banks, understanding the
banking sector as being instrumental to our quest for
economic growth and development,” he said.