The Black Empowerment Foundation (BEF) says it is unacceptable that banks which have robbed every South African, particularly the poor and destitute go unpunished for their crimes.
BEF on Thursday announced that it has brought criminal charges against Executives and management of CitiBank and 17 other banks for their role in the collusion and rand manipulation scandal.
Speaking during a press conference held in Durban, BEF said it wanted to ensure that those responsible for collusion in the banking sector were brought to justice.
“While underprivileged, destitute and hungry citizens are jailed for stealing a R13 loaf of bread…companies and their executives are stealing billions from South Africa, its economy and its citizens, yet nothing happens to these people.
“These racketeering, corrupt and collusive actions of theft go un-punished. Why is the National Prosecuting Authority so quiet on these white collar crimes?” said BEF’s Ryan Bettridge.
In February the Competition Commission announced that it had evidence of collusion and price fixing among major banks.
The banks included Absa, Barclays Capital, Barclays Bank plc, Standard Bank, Standard New York Securities, Investec, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, JP Morgan Chase, JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Credit Suisse, Commerzbank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Nomura International and Macquarie Bank.
BEF said it intends to pursue, through the U.S Justice system, the co-conspiring banks that took part in the collusion from outside South Africa.
BEF has also requested the NPA to investigate whether the collusive behaviour of the banks amounts to treason against the Republic of South Africa.
According to BEF, the collusion uncovered by the Competition Commission reveals how the banking sector is against transformation in South Africa and preventing the economic progression of its black citizens.
“The monopoly held in the banking and finance sector, which from the outside looks to be self-regulated…have consistently implemented legislation through its lackeys to prevent and prejudice new entrants into the sector.
“This has ensured that no black owned or black controlled bank can be established in the new South Africa. These corporate racketeers must be charged for their crime of fraud, racketeering, corruption and possibly treason against the citizens of South Africa,” said Bettridge.
Meanwhile BEF added that the same banks which have admitted to taking part in collusive actions have closed the accounts of the Oakbay group based merely on speculation.
“It is only fair that the government close all of their operating accounts with the banks, because these banks have been implicated and to some degree have admitted guilt to the offences of fraud, corruption and racketeering,” added Bettridge.
BEF believes that if all those involved in the collusion are fined and jailed it would send a message to others who are involved in white collar crime.
Citibank has previously announced that it would pay an administrative penalty of over R69 million for its role in the collusion and price fixing.
Citibank alongside Absa and Barclays have been providing evidence to the Competition Commission regarding the collusion of 17 banks to manipulate the rand.