Competition Commission lays fresh charge sheet against 28 banks

The Competition Commission has said on Tuesday 2 June that it will file a new charge sheet with the Competition Tribunal against 28 banks accused of manipulating rand-dollar trading.


The case was initially launched in 2015 at the Competition Tribunal and is related to allegations of collusion between various banks to fix the price of rand/dollar exchanges dating back to 2007. 

Case to dismiss charges thrown out in February  


The allegations pertain to collusion that took place between 2007 and 2013, in which multiple banks were suspected by the commission and international authorities of rigging the rand/dollar exchange rate.


The charges that were laid against the banks in 2015 remained pending at the tribunal for over five years before a judge dismissed a claim by banking representatives in February 2020 to have the charges thrown out. 


Standard Bank, First Rand Bank limited, Nedbank, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch International, BNP Paribas, and Investec are among those being ordered to respond to the charges. 


They had put it to the tribunal that they did not have jurisdiction over the case because the incidents were alleged to have taken place overseas. 

'Banks must be held accountable' 


Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele said that the banks will need to respond to the updated charge sheet and vowed to see the case through to a just resolution. 


"The banks must file their answers to these charges, which have now been further substantiated. These charges will not go away," Bonakele said.


He said that while several individual traders implicated in the allegations had been permitted to wash their hands of the issue, the banks involved were still required to prove their innocence. 


"Some of the individual traders involved in the currency manipulation have been dismissed, but their employers – the banks, are yet to be held accountable in South Africa."


"It is the responsibility of the South African authorities to get to the bottom of these serious allegations about the manipulation of our currency, wherever it occurred," Bonakele said.