Aussie banks admit to ringgit cartel
AUSTRALIAN banks ANZ and Macquarie have agreed to pay US$11 million in fines for trying to manipulate the benchmark rate of the Malaysian ringgit.
ANZ admitted to 10 instances of attempted cartel conduct and Macquarie to eight relating to setting the daily rates for derivative instruments linked to Malaysia’s currency in 2011.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said both had cooperated with investigations, with ANZ agreeing to a A$9 million penalty and Macquarie A$6 million.
The case involved Singapore-based traders communicating via private online chat rooms about daily submissions on the ringgit fixing rate to be made to the Association of Banks in Singapore.
“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,” said ACCC chair Rod Sims.
“The ACCC recognises the integrity of foreign exchange markets plays a fundamental role in our market economy.”
The Federal Court needs to determine if the penalties are appropriate.
ANZ said in a statement the three ANZ traders involved no longer worked for the company.
Macquarie said one junior employee, who no longer worked for the bank, was involved.
“Since Macquarie became aware of the matter and as the ACCC notes, it has significantly strengthened its ecommunication surveillance globally, improved trade monitoring and intensified training for its front office staff,” it said. –