Banks accused of price fixing likely to settle matter out of court

The Competition Tribunal will probe allegations against 17 banks who manipulated the markets & fixed the price the local currency.


JOHANNESBURG – Two of the three local banks implicated in allegations of price fixing say they will now wait on the Competition Tribunal to approach them and further explain the nature of its investigation.

The tribunal will probe allegations that at least 17 banks broke the law from as far back as 2007, by manipulating the markets and fixing the price of the local currency.

Absa Bank, Investec and Standard Bank are among the implicated financial institutions.

Investec has committed to assisting with the investigation while Absa Bank says it must be noted that the Competition Commission, which referred the case to the tribunal, is not seeking penalties against it.

The commission is seeking an administrative penalty of 10% of annual turnover for the period between 2007 and 2015 from other financial institutions.

Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele says the banks are likely to settle the matter to avoid a drawn-out process.

But University of Johannesburg competition professor Simon Roberts says guilty parties may not be able to hide behind collective responsibility for breaking the law.

“I think if the banks want to hide they will have to bring information that suggests there were a few rotten apples, typically this is what companies say - it wasn’t really widespread.”

Standard Bank is not yet commenting on the matter.

(Edited by Neo Koza)