(Recasts with CEO, analyst comments, share price)
JOHANNESBURG, March 2 Standard Bank, accused by
South Africa's anti-trust watchdog of being involved in the
rigging of rand currency trading, has asked the regulator to
spell out its specific allegations as the bank's own
investigations have not uncovered any wrongdoing.
South Africa's Competition Commission said last month it had
found more than a dozen local and foreign banks had colluded to
coordinate trading in the rand and the U.S dollar using an
instant chat room called ZAR Domination, a reference to the
rand's official currency market code.
"We are unable to determine from that precisely what the
infraction we are accused of is," joint-Chief Executive Sim
Tshabalala said on Thursday, adding Standard Bank was
seeking clarification from the Commission.
He said the bank had not suspended anyone as it had not
found any evidence to justify such action.
"We have trawled chatrooms, phone calls, we have gone
through thousands of records," he said, adding the Commission
had named only three Standard Bank employees in its report.
The Commission has recommended fines amounting to 10 percent
of the banks' South African revenues in a scandal that has piled
political pressure on the four South African banks accused of
being involved, which have about 90 percent of the national
Barclays Africa Group Chief Executive Maria Ramos
said last week she "deeply regrets" her firm's role in the
foreign exchange rigging.
Standard Bank reported a 4 percent rise in full-year profit
on Thursday, largely in line with expectations, but its shares
rose as its operations in the rest of Africa performed better
"Rest of Africa makes up 25 percent of earnings and was up 3
percent, which, given the macro strain evident across the
continent, is a credible result," said Kagiso Asset Management
investment analyst Meyrick Barker.
Shares in Standard Bank were up 6.2 percent at 155.52 rand
by 1350 GMT, compared with a 0.6 percent rise in the JSE's
Standard Bank posted headline earnings per share (EPS) of
1,389 cents for the period to end-December, compared with 1,359
cents the previous year. Headline EPS is the main profit measure
in South Africa and excludes certain one-off items.
(Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Mark