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Aussie banks admit to Malaysia ringgit cartel

by November 25, 2016 General

November 26, 2016, 12:27 am TWN

SYDNEY — Australian banks ANZ and Macquarie on Friday agreed to pay AU$15 million (US$11 million) in fines for trying to manipulate the benchmark rate of the Malaysian ringgit.

ANZ admitted to 10 instances of attempted cartel conduct and Macquarie to eight relating to setting the daily rates for derivative instruments linked to Malaysia’s currency in 2011.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said both banks had cooperated with their investigation, with ANZ agreeing to a AU$9 million penalty and Macquarie AU$6 million.

The case involved Singapore-based traders communicating via private online chat rooms about daily submissions on the Malaysian ringgit fixing rate to be made to the Association of Banks in Singapore.

“These proceedings are a reminder that Australian cartel laws apply to financial markets, and capture cartel conduct by firms that carry on business in Australia, regardless of where that conduct occurred,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

“The ACCC recognizes the integrity of foreign exchange markets plays a fundamental role in our market economy.”

The Federal Court needs to determine if the penalties are appropriate.

ANZ said in a statement the three ANZ traders involved no longer worked for the company.

“While there is no evidence that FX benchmarks in Singapore were successfully influenced, we accept responsibility and apologies for the actions of our former employees,” said chief risk officer Nigel Williams.