Competition Commission seeks to pursue foreign banks

The Competition Commission asks for more power to go after international banks that colluded to fix the price of the rand. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - The Competition Commission wants more power to prosecute foreign companies whose irregular actions violate South Africans rights.

In a preliminary court hearing, the commission sought to impose fines on more than a dozen local and foreign banks for allegedly rigging the rand.

The Competition Commission began investigating a case of rand exchange rate manipulation in 2015.

It found that beginning in 2007, several banks had a general agreement to collude on prices for bids, offers and bid-offer spreads in currency trading involving the US dollar and the rand.

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Huge fines were imposed on some banks by the Competition Commission following that investigation but the Competition Tribunal has been unable to impose fines on offending foreign banks because of a lack of jurisdiction.

“We prosecuted the banks before a tribunal, then foreign banks came and said we are not present in South Africa, the conduct also didn’t occur here, it occurred only in New York which is a foreign jurisdiction, you can’t touch us,” said Competition Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele.

“The tribunal said that the commission can pursue them but cannot get a fine from them, it can only get a declaratory order.

Source
eNCA

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