20/02/2017 17:14 SAST | Updated 20/02/2017 17:27 SAST

Citibank To Pay Nearly R70m In Banks' Collusion Scandal

Citibank cooperated, so it got off lightly. There are 16 other banks facing prosecution.

Facebook / Competition Commission

Citibank will pay an administrative penalty of R69.5 million for being part of the forex trading cartel, as it is cooperating in the investigation.

The settlement deal covers Citibank's role in the forex trading cartel and was announced by the Competition Commission.

"This settlement was done to encourage speedy settlement and full disclosure to strengthen the evidence for prosecution of the other banks," said commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele.

Commission spokesperson Sipho Ngwema explained the deal.

"Citibank N.A. will pay an administrative penalty of R69 500 860... This figure does not exceed 10 percent of Citibank N.A.'s annual turnover in the Republic of South Africa. Citibank N.A. undertook to cooperate with the commission and avail witnesses to assist the prosecution of the other banks that colluded in this matter."

Ngwema said that from "at least 2007", Citibank and its competitors had "a general agreement to collude on prices for bids, offers and bid-offer spreads for the spot trades in relation to currency trading involving US dollar / rand currency pair". Citbank and its competitors also "manipulated the price of bids and offers through agreements to refrain from trading and creating fictitious bids and offers".

The deal follows the commission's referral on February 17 of a collusion case to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution against 17 banks.

The banks are: the Bank of America Merrill Lynch International Limited, BNP Paribas, JP Morgan Chase & Co, JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A, Investec Ltd, Standard New York Securities Inc., HSBC Bank Plc, Standard Chartered Bank, Credit Suisse Group; Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd, Commerzbank AG; Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Nomura International Plc., Macquarie Bank Limited, Citibank N.A., ABSA Bank Limited (ABSA), Barclays Capital Inc, Barclays Bank plc.