Lawyers representing 23 banks that are accused of manipulating the rand against the dollar say the Competition Commission’s case has not shown sufficient evidence of anti-competitive conduct.
The banks made an application to the Competition Tribunal to dismiss the charges against them after being referred by the Competition Commission for prosecution.
Some foreign banks say the commission does not have the jurisdiction to prosecute them because they do not have offices in South Africa.
The lead counsels speaking on behalf of the banks say the competition commission does not have material evidence against them and that its case is vague.
About six foreign banks say the Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to prosecute them.
The Competition Commission launched its investigation in April 2015. So far Absa bank has received immunity after it was given leniency from prosecution.
The commission reached a settlement agreement with City Bank for being part of the Forex trading cartel and paid nearly R70 million.
The competition commission has refuted claims that it does not have the jurisdiction to prosecute the foreign banks that do not have offices in South Africa.
Head of Cartel Division Makgale Mohlala says:”The rand is the currency of South Africa and when you manipulate it the effects are felt in South Africa. So on that basis we have the jurisdiction to prosecute them.”
The Competition Commission wants the implicated banks to pay an administrative penalty fee of 10% of their turnover.
And it’s optimistic that the competition tribunal will rule in its favour.