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Federal Court fines banks for cartel conduct

A Federal Court ruling will see both ANZ and Macquarie Group pay multimillion-dollar penalties for attempted cartel conduct, according to the ACCC.

ANZ and Macquarie Group both had proceedings taken against them by the ACCC at the end of November after admitting some of their staff attempted to influence non-deliverable forward foreign exchange benchmark setting for the Malaysian ringgit.

ACCC chair Rod Sims said the court ruling, which will see ANZ pay $9 million and Macquarie pay $6 million, underlined “the seriousness of the conduct involved in these proceedings”.

“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,” he said.

“This conduct had the potential to undermine the integrity of foreign exchange markets and undermine healthy economic growth.”

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Justice Michael Wigney, who imposed the penalties, described the actions of the banks as “very serious”, adding that “the conduct of the traders in question was deliberate and systematic”.

“Attempts by banks and other market participants to fix prices or financial benchmarks in the financial system should be regarded as particularly serious contravening conduct,” he said in his judgement.

“It is essential that market participants and the public generally have confidence in the integrity and efficacy of the financial system.”

[Related: Banks admit to cartel conduct]

Federal Court fines banks for cartel conduct
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