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Mexico: Regulator finds evidence of bond market manipulation

 |  October 13, 2019

The Federal Economic Competition Commission (Cofece) notified the main banks that it found probable evidence of practices similar to those of the cartels to manipulate the prices of government bonds, according to Bloomberg.

At least one bank received a notice in person this week that the regulator would deal with the case, said the report. Seven financial institutions in total were notified. 

The regulator’s research unit has spent almost three years researching financial institutions related to the subject. The banks will have the opportunity to defend themselves before the commissioners, who will finally decide on the application of sanctions. Columnist Dario Celis previously reported in El Financiero that banks had been notified.

Cofece could issue fines of up to 10% of a company’s annual Mexican income if it finds that the institution conspired to manipulate the bond markets. At the beginning of the investigation, the banks that were market makers during the period in question were cited by the authorities.

Cofece, the body responsible for eliminating monopolies in Mexico⁠—led by Alejandra Palacios—received criticism from Mexican financial authorities for targeting the banks. It is the broadest investigation of the regulator on financial markets, which are generally supervised by the Mexican banking and securities regulator, CNBV.

The case covers the types of alleged collusion that have cost large banks fines of billions of dollars in other markets. At least one bank sought protection as a whistleblower, people familiar with the matter said.

Full Content: Bloomberg, El Financiero

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