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Australian bank reinstates traders still under legal cloud

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An Australian bank chief executive told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday that traders implicated in market manipulation allegations had been suspended then reinstated without those accusations being judged by a court.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the financial regulator, is suing the ANZ Banking Group in the Federal Court for unconscionable conduct and market manipulation in relation to ANZ’s involvement in setting the bank bill swap reference rate from 2010 to 2012. The bank has denied the allegations.

The rate sets the price of business between banks and other institutions. Rigging the rate can increase profits for both banks and traders.

ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott told the House Standing Committee on Economics that the bank initiated an internal investigation and suspended “a handful of people” after the regulator raised its allegations. Media reports said seven traders had been suspended on November 2014.

All but two traders were reinstated, despite the court case remaining unresolved, Elliott said.

“We reinstated those employees because they’d done nothing wrong,” Elliott said.

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Paul

The author Paul