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Suspend Standard Chartered Bank’s licence over Currency Manipulation – the EFF

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Johnathan Paoli

THE EFF has added its voice to the growing outrage on the UK-based Standard Chartered Bank’s confession to the illegal manipulation of currency trading within the country.

The EFF said on Thursday that they noted both the admission of guilt as well as the attempts by certain parties to downplay the conduct of the banks and that the country should remain vigilant in finding justice over the betrayal.

Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) previously admitted to engaging in the manipulation of the rand alongside 17 other banks accused of engaging in unethical conduct. 

The bank joins the list of other commercial banks that admitted to wrongdoing. SCB agreed to pay a penalty of R42 million to the Competition Commission for its role in conspiring to rig trades involving the US dollar-rand currency pair.

The EFF called for the immediate criminal prosecution of those individuals and parties involved and for the complete suspension of the respective banking licences.

Competition Commission spokesperson Siyabulela Makunga confirmed on Wednesday that the commission had entered into a settlement agreement with Standard Chartered, which “admitted liability” and agreed to pay an administrative penalty of R42.7m.

The EFf said that when it raised the matter of currency manipulation, the former Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, and the National Treasury ridiculed it and denied that there was currency manipulation in order to protect Maria Ramos within the banking sector, and refused to consider such ‘treacherous and criminal’ conduct on the economy. 

“The failure to deal with currency manipulation, however, is just a symptom of a banking sector that is a law unto itself. The South African Reserve Bank has failed to oversee the banking sector because of friendship based on nepotism, which has led to the revolving door of staff members between the banks, the National Treasury, and the Reserve Bank,” the party said. 

In addition, the party called on the Competition Tribunal to fast-track the cases of the remaining banks that participated in the scheme, and said it was concerning that the commission made their initial findings in 2017 and to this day, no one had been prosecuted and sent to prison, while many of those involved continued to enjoy the benefits of this corrupt practice.

SCB is one of 28 banks prosecuted by the commission for manipulating the USD/ZAR currency pair and the settlement ends an eight-year-long litigation over the currency manipulation allegations.

One other bank Citibank N.A has already settled after being charged for the same conduct with the commission in 2017.


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