The bank, claiming it has received no evidence of wrongdoing, is seeking to compel the Competition Commission to provide it
Do you trust banks to conduct their own internal audits if they have been accused of wrongdoing? SMS us on 35697 using the keyword FOREX and tell us what you think. Include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50 fact that it was alleged to be involved ... through the commission’s press release on February 15 2017.”
Meijer complains that the bank “was not provided the courtesy even of access to the referral affidavit before a media release containing damaging allegations was sent out”.
Standard Bank lawyers wrote to the commission the next week, saying it would prefer “to engage constructively ... but was in no position to meaningfully engage with the commission, since it had not been provided with any evidence of the conduct in which it was alleged to have engaged”.
They went on to state: “In the short time since the commission’s press release ... internal inquiries have been made and, at this stage, Standard Bank SA has found no evidence of improper or unlawful conduct.”
The commission’s Mfundo Ngobese wrote back, saying the now publicly available referral contained enough information to allow Standard Bank “to plead or consider its position”.
The referral had identified one Standard Bank trader, Bryn Brownrigg, as having colluded with traders at the other banks.
Even though the forex investigation was initially announced in 2015, that announcement mentioned only 11 banks, which did not include Standard Bank.
In August last year, the commission amended its investigation to include more banks, but according to Standard Bank, it did not realise at the time that it was even a respondent.
This is because the commission’s amendment cited Standard Bank only in an annexure to the application form for that amendment.
So, Standard Bank says it missed the fact that it was being investigated.
In another development this week, the tribunal made its settlement agreement with Citibank, relating to the bank’s involvement in the forex trading cartel, an order.
In the agreement, Citibank admitted that between 2007 and 2013, it had colluded with its competitors in respect of spot trading of rand currency pairs, in contravention of the Competition Act.
In terms of the agreement, Citibank has agreed to pay a penalty of R69.5 million.
Citibank has also agreed to fully cooperate with the commission in relation to the prosecution of the other banks named in the currency rigging matter.