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'People buying rand would have been affected by bank collusion'

Seventeen banks have now been referred to the Competition Tribunal for manipulating the value of the rand.

Thembinkosi Bonakele. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG – The Competition Commission says people buying the rand would have been affected by the actions of 17 banks that have now been referred to the Competition Tribunal for manipulating its value.

The commission also says it has strong evidence that these banks were communicating with each other to coordinate the timing of their trades, and created false bids to distort the market.

The banks include foreign banks like JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse, and local institutions such as Absa Bank, Standard Bank and Investec.

Competition Commissioner Thembinkosi Bonakele says what was happening was serious.

“There has clearly been manipulation that would have affected the buyers of the currency.”

He says they're very certain of their case.

Bonakele says it seems likely that the banks will opt to settle rather than go through a long process.

POLITICAL REACTION

The African National Congress (ANC) says the findings by the commission have raised doubts about the capabilities, trust and independence of the country's banks.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says it will be writing to the South African Reserve Bank to immediately discontinue banking and operating licenses of the banks named.

The banks named in the case are:

  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch International Limited

  • BNP Paribas

  • JP Morgan Chase & Co

  • JP Morgan Chase Bank NA

  • 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

  • Barclays Capital Inc

  • Barclays Bank plc

(Edited by Tamsin Wort)