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Brazil's antitrust body fines Morgan Stanley, RBC over alleged forex cartel

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Brazil's antitrust body fines Morgan Stanley, RBC over alleged forex cartel

Brazil's antitrust regulator Cade has fined Morgan Stanley and Royal Bank of Canada a total of 42.9 million reais for participating in an alleged offshore foreign exchange market cartel.

The banks are being investigated for allegedly meddling in exchange rates involving foreign currencies and the real. Cade said in a statement that it believes the parties agreed to fix exchange rate spreads and coordinate buying and selling currencies, among other fraudulent activities.

In an agreement with Cade, the banks admitted participating in anti-competitive conduct and vowed to cooperate with the antitrust watchdog in its investigation.

Morgan Stanley and Royal Bank of Canada agreed to pay about 30.3 million reais and 12.6 million reais each in fines, respectively. Pablo Frisanco de Oliveira, a currency trader and former banking executive, was also fined 60,000 reais.

In 2016, Cade penalized five financial institutions, including Barclays PLC, Citicorp, Deutsche Bank SA – Banco Alemão, HSBC Holdings PLC and JPMorgan Chase & Co., as part of its investigation.

As of June 13, US$1 was equivalent to 3.71 Brazilian reais.