The Competition Commission’s decision to prosecute major local and international banks for manipulating the foreign exchange market has been followed by outrage from the government, with the Treasury saying on Thursday that it pointed to poor market conduct practices at the offending institutions. The 16 banks that were investigated included Absa, Barclays, Standard Bank and Investec and a host of international institutions. In a highly emotive statement the Treasury said that if proven to be true, "it would confirm the pervasiveness of unbridled greed within ... banks even after evidence that such behaviour has potential to collapse national and global financial systems. This has to be punished and brought to an end!" At the time that the collusion allegedly took place — from 2007-15 — no market conduct supervision was in place, said the Treasury. While the Reserve Bank was a prudential banking supervisor, it did not monitor market conduct.Twin peaks legislation, currently being pr...

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