Two Aus­tralian banks ad­mit to ring­git car­tel, to pay A$15m fines

The Sun (Malaysia) - - MEDIA & MARKETING -

SYD­NEY: Two Aus­tralian banks have of­fered to pay fines for “car­tel con­duct” when trad­ing for­eign ex­change con­tracts for Malaysia’s cur­rency, the ring­git, in the lat­est con­tro­versy en­gulf­ing banks and their ma­nip­u­la­tion of for­eign ex­change rates.

Aus­tralia’s No. 1 in­vest­ment bank Mac­quarie Group Ltd and top cor­po­rate lender Aus­tralia and New Zealand Bank­ing Group Ltd on Fri­day said they of­fered to pay fines to­talling A$15 mil­lion (RM50 mil­lion). The two banks, how­ever, will still face pros­e­cu­tion in Aus­tralia over the mat­ter and, po­ten­tially, from over­seas au­thor­i­ties.

The ad­mis­sion may pro­vide fur­ther am­mu­ni­tion for a re­cent Malaysian govern­ment crack­down on for­eign banks trad­ing in the ring­git in off­shore mar­kets, seen by bankers as an at­tempt to curb a de­val­u­a­tion of the cur­rency.

The two Aus­tralian banks said in sep­a­rate state­ments they of­fered to pay the fines af­ter the anti-trust agency started court pro­ceed­ings over the com­pa­nies’ actions in Sin­ga­pore when trad­ing for­eign ex­change con­tracts for the ring­git in 2011.

“These pro­ceed­ings are a re­minder that Aus­tralian car­tel laws ap­ply to fi­nan­cial mar­kets, and cap­ture car­tel con­duct by firms that carry on busi­ness in Aus­tralia, re­gard­less of where that con­duct oc­curred,” Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion chair­man Rod Sims said in a state­ment.

Bank Ne­gara Malaysia did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests for com­ment. – Reuters

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