New information stalls interest rate swap probe

RICHARD MEADOWS
Last updated 16:47 02/04/2014

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The Commerce Commission has put lawsuits over interest rate swaps against ANZ, ASB and Westpac on hold after receiving new information on the complex deals.

The commission began its investigation into the sale of interest rate swaps to farmers in 2012 after a series of articles by Fairfax Media.

It believes there is sufficient evidence that banks have breached sections of the Fair Trading Act that relate to misleading customers.

The commission said this afternoon that it had been able to advance its investigation by using new "compulsory interview powers" to question current and former bank staff.

"This is a particularly complex case where different facts and circumstances apply to each of the three banks involved," it said.

"This complexity, along with the new information that has been obtained, meant that the original March time frame was no longer realistic."

The next announcement is expected mid-year once the commission has furthered discussions about the information it holds and any possible resolution.

It said it had entered a "standstill agreement" with each bank, which meant there would be no barrier to any proceedings brought by the commission as a result of taking extra time.

The commission declined to comment further while the investigation was active.

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- Fairfax Media

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