Turkish inspectors enter trading floors in surprise probe of banks

Inspectors from Turkey’s competition board entered the offices of banks across Istanbul on Friday, sitting down at trading desks and analysing computers.

The officials made surprise visits to several of the country’s largest banks, including foreign companies, late Friday afternoon, Reuters reported. The regulator told the news wire on Tuesday that it was conducting “preliminary research” as it does on a regular basis concerning all sectors of the economy.

The Turkish authorities are probing possible regulatory violations in the areas of foreign exchange, credit, brokerage services and deposits, local media reported on Friday.

The competition board has requested that banks provide more transaction information this week, one banker told Reuters.

Turkey has introduced curbs on banks’ trading in the currency and swaps market and sought to boost their lending to businesses and consumers since a currency crisis erupted in the summer of 2018. State-run banks have also worked with the central bank to stabilise the lira through direct interventions in the currency market.

The competition board fined 12 banks a total of 1.1 billion liras in 2013 for colluding on interest rates. It launched another investigation in 2017, this time probing 12 banks for their corporate lending practices.