Barclays Africa and Citibank bank stand isolated in the foreign trading case brought forward by the Competition Commission, after the other implicated banks said the allegations against them are false and without legal basis. Earlier this year the commission referred close to 20 banks to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution after it accused them of wrongdoing. Barclays and Citibank later admitted to their wrongdoing, Citibank was fined R69.5 million while the commission sought no levy was sought against Barclays for its role in the matter.
The banks, which include Standard Bank and Investec did not admit any guilt and have now launched their defence against the allegations. The say the commission has yet to advance evidence that implicated them in wrongdoing in the matter. In papers lodged with the commission, Investec says the tribunal should dismiss the allegations against it as the evidence brought forward by the commission could not be legally sustained.
“The referral affidavit is accordingly excipiable because it so vague and embarrassing that Investec does not the material facts upon which the commission relies for referral,” says Investec.
The commission in its founding affidavit lodged with the tribunal had said the banks had entered into a complex web of deceit to fix prices for their benefit. For its part, Standard Bank also says the allegations against it do not hold water and asks the tribunal to dismiss them.
“Accordingly, there are no allegations contained in the affidavit that support the pleaded concluded that bilateral agreements were entered into, who the parties to these bilateral agreements were, what they related to, and when and how they were concluded,” Standard Bank says.
The tribunal says the commission has until the end of the month to respond to the exception applications of the banks.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE.