The Competition Commission will be going for maximum penalties against the banks involved in colluding in currency trades to manipulate the value of the rand/dollar exchange rate, commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele said on Tuesday. Heavy penalties would serve both as a deterrent against such conduct he said as well as forcefully demonstrating that if entities did not come forward early to co-operate with the commission, they would have to bear the consequences. In terms of the Competition Act the Competition Tribunal can impose a fine amounting to 10% of annual turnover. The highest fine imposed so far has been the R1.5bn fine imposed last year against ArcelorMittal SA for price fixing. The commission investigated 18 banks and has referred its case to the Commission Tribunal. Absa, Barclays Capital and Barclays plc were granted leniency for their co-operation in the investigation. In a briefing to Parliament’s economic development committee on the commission’s investigation Bonakele a...

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