Businessman Hamza Farooqui, who is in a bid to buy Habib Overseas Bank in a joint venture with Gupta associate Salim Essa, said it would be a "disgrace" if the South African Reserve Bank denied them a banking licence, while allowing Standard Bank and Absa to keep theirs. "This closed shop of institutions behaves with breathtaking arrogance. This is exactly the reason why banking apartheid has to end," Farooqui said on Thursday, after news that Absa, Standard Bank and Investec were referred to the Competition Tribunal for colluding to fix prices. Absa, Standard Bank and Investec are among 17 local and international banks that the Competition Commission has referred to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution over foreign currency collusion. Farooqui, an entrepreneur who started his first business (a cricket-scoring platform) at age 12, has set up a company called Vardospan to acquire Habib’s South African assets, which are owned by Pitcairns Finance in Luxembourg. Essa and Farooqui j...

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