Feb 15 South Africa's competition watchdog has recommended a fine equal to 10 percent of annual turnover for several banks, including Citigroup, Nomura and Standard Bank, for rigging the rand currency, it said on Wednesday.
Following a string of similar lawsuits in the United States and UK, the Competition Commission believes the banks in question acted in concert to manipulate either prices for bids, offers or spreads for spot trades involving the rand and the USA dollar.
"The objective of the review was to establish whether there was any misconduct or malpractice in the South African foreign exchange market".
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Implicated banks included Africa's Absa, Investec and Standard Bank.
Inducted banks include Bank of America Merrill Lynch International Limited, BNP Paribas, JP Morgan Chase & Co, JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A, Investec Ltd, Standard New York Securities Inc., HSBC Bank Plc, Standard Chartered Bank and Credit Suisse Group.
The 10 percent that the Competition Commission seeks from 14 of the banks and financial institutions to be held liable for from their annual turnovers is, though important, actually nearly next to nothing compared to the crime that they have committed and its consequences on our economy and people - especially the workers and poor who are languishing in high levels on persistent class inequality, unemployment, peanut wages and poverty as a result of exploitation in production by capitalist bosses and in banking and finance by capitalist banks and financial institutions. ABSA is one of 17 banks accused by the country's competition watchdog of conspiring to fix the rate of the South African currency.
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The ANC said it will closely follow the developments in this case and calls for the Competition Tribunal to level against the banks the harshest possible sanction where they are found guilty.
Cardo said the party took collusion very seriously, as it works against fairness and opportunity but the ANC has already prejudged the outcome of the case, accusing the banks of a profit-driven assault on the Rand, fueled by nefarious agendas and politically motivated intentions. Upon sentencing, banks affected can appeal to South Africa's Competition Appeal Court. EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said they will write to the South African Reserve Bank to demand that the banking and operating licences of the banks be discontinued immediately.
Financial Times reported that global banks have now paid more than $10bn in relation to the forex scandal, exceeding the $9bn paid by a larger group of institutions to settle the Libor rigging claims.
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Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd.