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Screenshot of a breaking news alert e-mail from Q2 2017
South Africa’s Competition Commission has filed with the Competition Tribunal a settlement agreement reached with the Citibank N.A. unit of global banking giant Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) for being part of a forex trading cartel.
The Commission found that from at least 2007, Citibank N.A. 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. Further, the Commission found that Citibank N.A. and its competitors manipulated the price of bids and offers through agreements to refrain from trading and creating fictitious bids and offers at particular times.
Citibank N.A. will pay an administrative penalty of R69,500,860 (Sixty Nine Million Five Hundred Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty Rands). This figure does not exceed 10% 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.
On 15 February 2017, the Competition Commission referred a collusion case to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution against a group of large banks including 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 (Respondents).
“This settlement was done to encourage speedy settlement and full disclosure to strengthen the evidence for prosecution of the other banks,” said the Commissioner, Tembinkosi Bonakele.