AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Johannesburg – The Competition Tribunal has confirmed Citibank’s settlement of R69.5 million for its role in the forex cartel.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Tribunal says the fine does not exceed 10 percent of Citibank’s annual turnover in South Africa.

The fine follows a complaint initiated by the Competition Commissioner in 2015.

The Tribunal explains the agreement was postponed after a March 22 hearing as the Tribunal had asked for additional information from the Competition Commission regarding the percentage of Citibank’s turnover on which the fine is based.

Citibank admitted that, between September 2007 and October 2013, Citibank and its competitors manipulated the price of bids and offers through agreements to refrain from trading and creating fictitious bids and offers at particular times, assisted each other by allowing a trader with a large open risk position to complete his trades first before trading and through holding and/or pulling their trades to reserve liquidity for each other instead of trading normally in the market.

Citibank additionally admitted to fixing bids, offers and bid-offer spreads in relation to spot trades on rand currency pairs through co-ordination/alignment of the bids, offers, and bid-offer spreads quoted to customers. 

Read also: CitiBank settlement details 'confidential'

In terms of the settlement agreement Citibank will appear as a witness at their competitor’s hearings and, according to the Commission, Citibank has already begun supplying information that is helpful to the Commission’s investigation.

Citibank also undertakes to not engage in any future conduct in contravention of the Competition Act and continue its existent implementation programmes.  

Citibank is the first of the banks reach a settlement agreement with the Commission in the complaint the Competition Commission v Bank of America Merrill Lynch and seventeen others lodged with the Tribunal.

Barclays Africa has been conditional immunity by the Commission from prosecution in return for its continuing cooperation in the probe.