Australian Banks Admit Attempted Cartel Conduct

Two of Australia’s biggest banks have agreed to pay a combined fine of 15 million Australian dollars (€10.5 million) after admitting to attempted cartel conduct aimed at rigging the benchmark rate for the Malaysian ringgit, the Irish Times reported. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australia’s competition watchdog, said on Friday that ANZ Bank had admitted to 10 instances of attempted cartel conduct, while Macquarie had admitted to eight instances in 2011. The case involves a Macquarie trader, and traders employed by ANZ and other banks, who communicated via private online chat rooms about submissions made to the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) in relation to the benchmark rate of the Malaysian currency, the ACCC said. On various dates in 2011, some of these traders attempted to arrange for particular banks to make high or low submissions to the ABS in relation to the fixing rate for the currency, the ACCC said. Read more.