Today, the Competition Commission has filed with the Competition Tribunal, a settlement agreement reached with Citibank N.A. for being part of the forex trading cartel.
The Commission found that from at least 2007, Citibank N.A. and its competitors 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 US Dollar/Rand currency pair. Further, the Commission found that Citibank N.A. and its competitors manipulated the price of bids and offers through agreements to refrain from trading and creating fictitious bids and offers at particular times.
Citibank N.A. will pay an administrative penalty of R69 500 860 (Sixty Nine Million Five Hundred Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty Rands). This figure does not exceed 10% of Citibank N.A.’s annual turnover in the Republic of South Africa. Citibank N.A. undertook to cooperate with the Commission and avail witnesses to assist the prosecution of the other banks that colluded in this matter.
On 15 February 2017, the Competition Commission referred a collusion case to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution against 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, Credit Suisse Group; Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd, Commerzbank AG; Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Nomura International Plc., Macquarie Bank Limited, Citibank N.A., ABSA Bank Limited (ABSA), Barclays Capital Inc, Barclays Bank plc (Respondents).
“This settlement was done to encourage speedy settlement and full disclosure to strengthen the evidence for prosecution of the other banks,” said the Commissioner, Tembinkosi Bonakele.
For more information or for media enquiries, please contact:
Sipho Ngwema, Head of Communications
012 394 3493/ 078 048 1213/ SiphoN@compcom.co.za
Public Protector’s preliminary report found that ABSA illegally benefited from apartheid cash injections from the South African Reserve Bank.
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, February 19, 2017 – On Friday, the Black First Land First (BLF) movement marched to the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) (APO.af/JsJaEi) to demand that the institution act on the Public Protector’s preliminary report which found that ABSA illegally benefited from apartheid cash injections from the SARB.
BLF joined the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) recently in a march to ABSA headquarters (APO.af/Y21xVq) to demand that #ABSAmustPay. The Public Protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane, found that ABSA should pay R3.2 billion.
BLF said they wanted the SARB to take seriously and act on findings of the CIEX report, which investigated money stolen during the late stages of institutionalised apartheid. The report found that R26 billion could be immediately recoverable.
The aim of the march was to also implore the SARB to punish corrupt banks, ABSA, Standard Bank and Investec, which the Competition Commission found (APO.af/VsZ1A9) had manipulated and fixed the rand/dollar price.
In the nation under President Jacob Zuma and African National Congress (ANC) there been done some shady dealings between government and private industry, this has been happening over years. Now the Financial Market and Banks have internally been agreeing on values and exchange rates on the South African Rands (ZAR), this is a luxury where the banks have set fixed prices and values. That in the end has given profits and sold the Rand on the open market. This in mind with the fixing and securing more profits for the banks as they we’re trading the currency on the open market. Also, to foreign investors and currency traders that try to make a profit on exchange and selling currency back again at a later date.
So this sort of financial manipulation has made sure for the 17 banks that have made agreements between the banks and communication that most likely paid more for the rand or more used more dollars for getting the South African currency. As proven with the statements of the Competition Commission and the South African Reserve Bank, however, the trial and the review will continue to shed light on the possible internal-trade in the financial business of the Republic.
The opening of review of Forex exchange of the Rand:
“The Competition Commission has today referred a collusion case to the Tribunal for prosecution against 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, Credit Suisse Group; Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd, Commerzbank AG; Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Nomura International Plc., Macquarie Bank Limited, ABSA Bank Limited (ABSA), Barclays Capital Inc, Barclays Bank plc (Respondents). The Commission has been investigating a case of price fixing and market allocation in the trading of foreign currency pairs involving the Rand since April 2015. It has now referred the case to the Tribunal for prosecution. The Commission found that from at least 2007, the respondents 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 US Dollar / Rand currency pair. Further, the Commission found that the respondents manipulated the price of bids and offers through agreements to refrain from trading and creating fictitious bids and offers at particular times. Traders of the respondents primarily used trading platforms such as the Reuters currency trading platform to carry out their collusive activities. They also used Bloomberg instant messaging system (chatroom), telephone conversation and had meetings to coordinate their bilateral and multilateral collusive trading activities. They assisted each other to reach the desired prices by coordinating trading times. They reached agreements to refrain from trading, taking turns in transacting and by either pulling or holding trading activities on the Reuters currency trading platform. They also created fictitious bids and offers, distorting demand and supply in order to achieve their profit motives” (CompCom, 2017).
South African Reserve Bank statement:
“The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has noted today’s announcement by the Competition Commission South Africa (Competition Commission) that it has completed its investigation initiated in April 2015 and has referred to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution a case of price fixing and market allocation in the trading of foreign currency pairs involving the South African Rand (ZAR)” (…) “The rand is a globally traded currency. Some 30.0% of daily turnover in the ZAR takes place in South Africa, and turnover with non-residents accounts for 57.5% of domestic turnover. Figures published by the Bank for International Settlements indicate that for the month of April 2016, the daily average worldwide turnover in the foreign exchange market involving the ZAR was approximately USD49.0 billion. This represented 1% of total turnover in the international foreign exchange markets” (…) “The SARB sees the allegations in a serious light. The SARB will allow the legal processes now initiated to run their course, and will continue to monitor developments closely to inform any action that we may need to embark upon in accordance with our mandate and jurisdiction” (SARB, 2017).
So we can now wait and see what the efforts and effects. If this can hit the currency and its value, if this has been a fix to juice it up or even put in a bubble where the banks has earned profits on illegitimate transactions as the communications between the banks has set standards of the prices and expenses, so the costumers and businesses has overpaid for the currency in trading. This proves that the greed and coins goes together. The banks of South Africa ceased an opportunity and grasped it.
We have to see when the Competition Commission of South Africa releases their report and their conclusions as the review and the findings of colluding will be put in court. However, the world gets to see the internal trading and agreements between the banks to fix the prices of currency, especially the value of the South African Rand (ZAR). Therefore the release of information on how they fixed it and how they speculated on it, will show how banks did this. Trust this, the report and the papers on this financial transactions and agreements will be juicy and show the inner-works of the banks. That is knowledge that the Republic of South Africa deserves, as these people and professionals are the ones making sure the monies are used and taken care off. Peace.
South African Reserve Bank – ‘SA Reserve Bank Notes Competition Commission Decision’ (15.02.2017) link: https://www.resbank.co.za/Lists/News%20and%20Publications/Attachments/7681/SARB%20statement%20on%20Competition%20Commission%20announcement.pdf
The Competition Commission South Africa (CompCom) – ‘Breaking News: Competition Commission prosecutes banks (currency traders) for collusion’ (15.02.2017)