Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Forex probe may stem from whistle blower or ‘confession’

An investigation by South Africa’s anti- trust regulator into alleged foreign currency manipulation involving the rand may stem from a whistle blower or “a confession,” a central bank official said.

The Competition Commission informed the central bank of its investigations without sharing details of the probe, South African Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Kuben Naidoo told reporters Tuesday in Johannesburg.

“We have spoken with the banks and asked them to cooperate fully with the Competition Commission,” Naidoo said, as the central bank’s bank supervision department released its annual report for 2014.

The commission said on 19 May it’s investigating 11 entities, including local banks Standard Bank Group, Barclays Group Africa and Investec for alleged collusion in trades involving the rand. Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said May 22 he was “very concerned” by the allegations and wanted to understand the impact on the country’s financial system.

The Reserve Bank’s own review of foreign-exchange trading is underway “and we haven’t found anything untoward in South Africa,” Naidoo said.

The competition commission hasn’t spoken to the banks involved in the investigation, it said Monday.

‘Gathering Evidence’
“We don’t have to be in touch,” Mava Scott, a spokesperson for the commission, said by phone from Pretoria. “We are under no obligation. Right now we are gathering evidence. Once we come to the conclusion that someone has a case to answer and we have enough to prosecute, then we will go and speak with them.”

Given the high-profile nature of the investigation, the commission has committed to working on it as fast as possible, Scott said.

Spokespeople for Standard Bank, Investec and Barclays Africa have said their banks will cooperate fully with the investigation. BNP Paribas SA, Citigroup, Citigroup Global Markets, Barclays Bank, JP Morgan Chase & Co. and a unit of Standard Chartered were also named in the probe.

Naidoo said at Tuesday’s briefing he didn’t know if the rand exchange rate had been manipulated. A misdemeanor may have affected the currency’s price and it was essential that people in the market have the confidence that the market is fair, he said. The extent of any malpractice wasn’t yet clear, he said.

“My sense is that the investigation is as a result of a whistle blower or a confession,” Naidoo said.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

ANC members take legal action over council selection disputes

Nine ANC members in the North West’s Greater Taung Municipality have sent a letter to the national list committee threatening to go to court should the ANC not respond to their demands.

Court judgment about alien fish is about more than trout...

Judge finds that public participation in democratic processes is not the exclusive preserve of the privileged few who have access to the internet and can read English

More top stories

Ramaphosa calls for public nominations for new chief justice

The president has named a panel of experts to help him draw up a shortlist of candidates in an unprecedented move that opens the appointment to consultation

Q&A Sessions: Meet the rhino whisperer, Cathy Dreyer

Cathy Dreyer, the first female head ranger of the Kruger National Park, speaks to Sheree Bega about earning the trust of black rhinos by reading to them and why the park’s hard-working rangers deserve the admiration of all South Africans

Zondo asks court for state capture commission report deadline to...

The state capture commission report will not be ready by the end of September, and Zondo says he believes it will be in the public interest to grant an extension

Municipal employees to get a 3.5% increase after wage deal

The South African Local Government Association said a three-year wage deal had been agreed on the remuneration of municipal employees

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…