Competition Commission moves forward with rand manipulation case against banks

The Competition Commission has filed a new charge sheet with the Competition Tribunal against 28 banks for rand/dollar manipulation.

This follows a Competition Appeal Court ruling which ordered that a new charge sheet be filed, the Commission said in an statement on Tuesday (2 June).

The case relates to collusion to fix prices and divide markets in respect of the dollar/rand currency pair in contravention of section 4 of the Competition Act, it said.

“Following its investigation, the Commission found that the banks directly and indirectly manipulated trade of the UDS/ZAR currency pair in relation to bids, offers, bid-offer spreads, and the spot exchange rate.

“The banks have also divided markets by allocating customers in the USD/ZAR pair.”

The new referral provides more details on the operations of the currency manipulation cartel, its effects on South Africa, and expands the scope of the prosecution to include five more banks.

These include Nedbank (Nedbank Group and Nedbank Limited); Rand Merchant Bank (constituted of RMB and FirstRand Bank); and Standard Americas Inc.

“The banks must file their answers to these charges, which have now bee further substantiated,” said Competiton commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele.

“These charges will not go away. Some of the individual traders involved in the currency manipulation have been dismissed, but their employers – the banks, are yet to be held accountable in South Africa.”

“It is the responsibility of the South African authorities to get to the bottom of these serious allegations about the manipulation of our currency, wherever it occurred.”

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Competition Commission moves forward with rand manipulation case against banks