CAPE TOWN, April 25 (Reuters) - Court proceedings against 18 banks accused of rigging the rand currency are likely to start early next year, as prosecutors need time to prepare the complex case, the head of cartels at South Africa's Competition Commission said on Wednesday.
"Our case against the banks is very strong and we want to deal with all these technicalities so the matter can go on trial, maybe by the second quarter of next year," Makgale Mohlala said.
Competition authorities will first hold a series of "exception hearings" to discuss the possible exclusion of banks on technical grounds. South Africa said last August that it would no longer offer deals to banks cooperating with investigations into the alleged currency rigging, a blow to some lenders that had discreetly approached the watchdog for a settlement. (Reporting by Wendell Roelf Editing by Catherine Evans)