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Cabinet supports Competition Commission’s rand manipulation probe

Friday, December 1, 2023

Cabinet on Thursday said it will back the Competition Commission’s rand manipulation investigation. 

This comes after the competition authorities announced that the British multinational Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) admitted liability in the currency manipulation case and agreed to pay a R42 million fine. 

The SCB is one of 28 banks, locally and overseas, currently being investigated for allegations of manipulating the value of the rand exchange rate between 2007 and 2013.

The probe includes fixing bids, bid-offer spreads, the spot exchange rate, and the exchange rate. 

Citibank, according to the Commission, already settled the same conduct in 2017.

“Cabinet received a briefing from the Competition Commission and National Treasury on the case of the ZAR/USD currency exchange rate collusion. 

“In particular, the Competition Commission provided an update on the cases currently before courts, as well as concluded settlements with Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank,” the Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, said on Thursday. 

Ntshavheni was addressing media on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting held the previous day.

“Cabinet supports the important work the Competition Commission is doing in this case. Noting actions in other jurisdictions on the cases involving the ZAR/USD currency trading collusion, Cabinet urges respondent banks currently facing prosecution in our courts to cooperate with local authorities as they did with our foreign counterparts.” 

International crime

Meanwhile, the Executive has commended the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) for spearheading an operation that arrested five suspects at the OR Tambo International Airport on 15 November 2023. 

The Hawks, according to the Minister were cooperating with the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), 
The suspects were arrested on allegations of drug trafficking, contravention of the Civil Aviation Act, 2009 (Act 13 of 2009) and contravention of the Customs and Excise Act, 1964 (Act 91 of 1964).

“These arrests are linked to a consignment of drugs recently seized in Australia. 

“The drug seizure abroad was positively linked to suspects in South Africa, resulting in the arrests of two suspects employed by ACSA, two suspects from Menzies Aviation and one from Swissport.” – SAnews