South Korea’s anti-trust regulator fined Deutsche Bank AG and BNP Paribas a total of 176 million won ($157,000) after it found that their branches had colluded during currency forwards auctions. South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission said on Tuesday that the two banks had made illegal profits from 2011 April through 2014 November by colluding on prices of bids so that they can take turns to win forward currency contracts from companies trying to buy currency derivatives for hedging purposes.
The regulator said in a statement that Deutsche Bank’s fine was 71 million won ($63,000) and BNP Paribas’ was 105 million won ($94,000). The pair were able to take turns to win every monthly auction during the period, taking higher sales margins than before and wringing profits from clients, according to the regulator. The names of two affected clients were not disclosed.
“We have been sincerely cooperating with the investigation, and have taken actions to put things right,” a Seoul-based BNP Paribas spokeswoman said. A Deutsche spokeswoman could not be immediately reached. A commission official, who asked not to be identified, said it is currently investigating a separate case of collusion in the currency market. ($1 = 1,118.6 won)