BLF threatens to lay criminal charges against 18 banks for price fixing

The Black First Land First movement has not yet provided any evidence to substantiate the serious allegations.

FILE: Black First Land First Leader Andile Mngxitama.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Black First Land First movement (BLF) is threatening to open criminal cases against 18 banks for collusion, corruption, and fraud.

It claims the banks have contravened the Competition Act by engaging in price fixing.

But the rabble-rousers have not yet provided any evidence to substantiate the serious allegations levelled against these financial institutions.

BLF Deputy President Zanele Lwana says they'll provide the evidence in due course.

“It’s clear they’re being run by criminals and they are criminal organisations, therefore their executives deserve to go to jail. People who steal and engage in criminal activities in South Africa go to jail and they must pay whatever amount they made from these activities.”

The movement has made headlines recently for intimidating journalists.

It's leader Andile Mngxitama is a defender of the politically-connected Gupta family and was reportedly involved in a controversial PR campaign to deflect attention away from the Gupta brothers, who are at the center of state capture allegations.

BANKS IN COLLUSION SCANDAL

In February, the Competition Commission referred a case involving 17 banks to the Competition Tribunal after they were accused of price fixing in international markets involving the value of the rand to the dollar.

The banks involved include Absa, Standard Bank, Investec, HSBC and Nomura International plc.

The Competition Commission found that from at least 2007 these banks had a general agreement to collude on prices for bids, offers and bid-offer spreads for spot trades in relation to currency trading involving the rand and the dollar.

It also said these banks helped each other to reach the desired prices by coordinating their trading times - and created fake bids and offers - to distort demand and supply.

The commission added that they took turns in transacting by either pulling or holding trades.

Citibank agreed to pay a R69.5 million administrative penalty during the commission's investigation.

Additional reporting by Stephen Grootes.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)