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Competition Commission Plans July Hearing On Banks In The Rand-Rigging Forex Collusion Case

17 banks were named in the allegations of price-fixing which the Competition Tribunal is now investigating.

16/03/2017 13:06 SAST | Updated 16/03/2017 13:27 SAST
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South Africa's Competition Tribunal will hold a hearing in July where banks accused of colluding to rig the rand currency will make their submissions, the anti-trust body said on Thursday.

South Africa's Competition Commission said last month it had found more than a dozen local and foreign banks had colluded to coordinate trading in the rand and the U.S dollar using an instant chat room called ZAR Domination, a reference to the rand's official currency market code.

The tribunal, an anti-trust oversight body, said the commission has until the end of March to supplement its complaint against Bank of America Merrill Lynch and 17 other institutions, among them South African banks Standard Bank, Barclays Africa Group and Investec.

The banks have until May 3 to file applications to raise objections on grounds that the complaint is vague or does not disclose a cause of action.

Standard Bank said earlier this month that the commission was not clear in communicating what the bank is being accused of.

Barclays and Citigroup previously approached South Africa's competition regulators with information linked to the case and Citigroup was fined R69.5 million rand ($5.5 million) last month for its role.

The tribunal will hear these objections — called exception applications in South African law — in July.

"It is important to note that the exception application hearing is, by no means, the final hearing on the merits of the matter," the tribunal said.

The Commission has recommended fines amounting to 10 percent of the banks' South African revenues in a scandal that has piled political pressure on the South African banks accused of being involved.

READ: Everything you need to know about the banking collusion scandal