South Africa fines Standard Chartered Bank for currency manipulation
Standard Chartered has admitted liability and agreed to pay a fine of almost R43 million (US$2.3 million) to South Africa’s Competition Commission. The statutory body has the power to investigate, evaluate, and control businesses and their leaders in South Africa to ensure efficiency.
The currency manipulation occurred from 2003 to 2013 by Standard Chartered.
Commission spokesperson Siyabulela Makunga said this was a victory for South Africa.
The speaker mentioned that the settlement was reached during a critical time in which respondent banks were in front of the Competition Appeal Court (CAC).
In 2015, the commission began investigating market manipulation in currency pairs involving the South African rand by various local and international banks before reaching this settlement with one of the banks involved in its investigation.
Standard Chartered Bank is one of 28 banks accused of manipulating the USD/ZAR currency pair.
This settlement concludes an eight-year litigation between the commission and SCB over currency manipulation allegations. Citibank N.A already settled a similar conduct with the commission in 2017.
“The commission welcomes SCB’s decision to reach a settlement on this matter and encourages other respondent banks to consider settling the complaint against them.
Further, this settlement affirms the commission’s pursuit of allegations related to the manipulation of the USD/ZAR currency pair, given the ultimate impact of the currency manipulation on the value of the South African Rand,” Competition Commissioner, Doris Tshepe said.
Makunga stated that Standard Chartered admitted to charges of manipulating currency trades, including the rand, thereby ending a long-standing dispute with South Africa’s competition regulator.
In 2019, it was reported that Standard Chartered had entered into a settlement agreement with US authorities, whereby they admitted to engaging in wrongdoing relating to the manipulation of currency prices.
As per the agreement, the bank paid a fine of US$40 million, which was around R536 million at the time.
A statement released by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) reaffirms the party’s claim that Standard Chartered manipulated them and that they reported this to the former Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, who ridiculed them.
The political party, known to speak out against the status quo in South Africa and worldwide mentioned in the statement, “We are therefore, not shocked by commentators in the mainstream media who are trivialising the matter to downplay the severe nature of this corruption, fraud and treachery.”