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Banks charged for manipulating exchange rate to file responses

The Competition Commission said on Tuesday that it had expanded its case to target other additional lenders, including some of the country’s biggest banks.

FILE: The commission said it had done this and, in the process, added five new banks to the case, taking the total to 28. These include the Nedbank Group and Rand Merchant Bank. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Banks implicated by the Competition Commission in manipulating the rand-dollar exchange rate have been called on by the commission to file their responses to the charges.

On Tuesday, the watchdog said that it had expanded its case to target other additional lenders, including some of the country’s biggest banks.

The Competition Commission said the matter related to collusion to fix prices and divide markets.

The commission’s probe began in 2015, targeting 23 local and foreign banks, which it alleged colluded to co-ordinate activities when giving quotes to customers buying or selling the rand and the dollar.

The Competition Tribunal conceded that it had no powers to charge foreign banks, but the Competition Appeal Court ruled that the commission should simply submit a new charge sheet.

The commission said it had done this and, in the process, added five new banks to the case, taking the total to 28. These include the Nedbank Group and Rand Merchant Bank.

Some of the individual traders involved in this manipulation were dismissed, but the Competition Commission said the banks were yet to be held accountable.

Nedbank told Reuters that it was reviewing the allegations and would respond in due course, but it remained committed to free and fair markets.

The other banks are yet to respond.