Standard Chartered Bank admits manipulating rand’s value

Standard Chartered Bank admitted manipulating the value of the rand against the US Dollar and will pay a fine of R43 million for its misconduct.

Standard Chartered previously pleaded guilty to manipulating the rand between 2007 and 2013, where its traders used illegal tactics to maximise profits.

The Competition Commission announced on Wednesday, 15 November 2023, that it had reached a settlement agreement with the UK-based multinational bank.

In terms of the settlement agreement, Standard Chartered admitted liability for the manipulation of the USD/ZAR currency pair. It has also agreed to pay an administrative penalty of R42.7 million.

The Competition Commission explained that Standard Chartered participated in the manipulation of the USD/ZAR currency pair using illegal tactics.

These tactics included fixing bids, offers, bid-offer spreads, the spot exchange rate, and the exchange rate at the FIX.

The bank also divided markets by allocating customers where one trader withholds or pulls his existing bid or offer from the market to allow the other trader to execute his trade.

This conduct contravenes South Africa’s Competition Act, which is why the Competition Commission stepped in.

Standard Chartered is one of 28 banks that the Commission is prosecuting for manipulating the USD/ZAR currency pair.

This settlement ends an eight-year-long litigation between the Commission and Standard Chartered over the currency manipulation allegations.

The settlement agreement has been filed with the Tribunal for confirmation, which is set down for hearing today, 15 November 2023.

The settlement comes at a time when respondent banks are currently appearing before the Competition Appeal Court.

They are seeking an order setting aside a Competition Tribunal order of 30 March 2023 which ordered respondent banks to file their answers to the complaint referral.

The hearing for the appeals and reviews before the Competition Appeal Court is set down from 13 to 16 November 2023.


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