Australia’s Federal Court has ordered ANZ Bank and the Macquarie Group to pay AS$9 million and AS$6 million respectively for attempts by the banks’ traders to rig a key benchmark rate in Malaysia’s foreign exchange markets, reports the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).
The fines are reportedly the result of an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) legal action against the banks over alleged private online chat room conversations in 2011 between the banks’ Singapore-based traders.
The traders were alleged to be trying to influence the daily fixing of a price for forward contracts of Malaysian ringgit.
The banks last month agreed with the allegations and offered to pay fines and take measures to ensure such practices won’t recur.
According to the English daily’s report, presiding judge Justice Wigney underlined the severity of the misconduct, describing it as “very serious” and saying it had the “capacity to undermine the integrity and efficacy of the market in Malaysian ringgit forward contracts”.
The two banks has been deemed to have failed to properly monitor their Singapore offices to ensure they complied with the law, thus the hefty fines are imposed to set an example to other financial institutions.
“The conduct of the traders employed by ANZ and Macquarie was deliberate, systematic and covert,” Justice Wigney said in a summary of his decision.
ACCC chairperson Rod Sims said the penalties underlined the seriousness of the conduct.
“Two significant Australian banks have admitted that on several occasions their traders communicated with other banks in an attempt to influence the ABS MYR Fixing Rate,” Sims said.
He warned that the conduct had the potential to undermine the integrity of foreign exchange markets and undermine healthy economic growth.
SMH reported that when news of the attempted rigging was first revealed last month, ANZ said it had beefed up its compliance in recent years, while Macquarie said it had not benefited in any way from the misconduct.
Source : @ Malaysiakini