A money transfer business has been fined $1 million for a five-year cartel that fixed the Australian dollar and Vietnamese dong exchange rate in Melbourne and Sydney.
Between December 2011 and October 2016, Vina Money Transfer Pty Ltd breached consumer laws by agreeing to a common exchange rate and transaction fee with two other businesses.
During that period, Vina Money Transfer, Hong Vina Fast Money Transfer and Hai Ha Money Transfer occupied about two thirds of the market, accounting for about $2.5 billion of transactions.
The businesses had stores in Cabramatta and Bankstown in Sydney, and Springvale and Footscray in Melbourne.
Federal Court Judge Wendy Jane Abraham described the conduct as deliberate, serious and anti-competitive.
"The businesses would not lose business to its competitors on account of that competitor fixing a better exchange rate," Judge Abraham said in her written judgment on Thursday.
"By giving effect to the cartel, the companies continued to benefit from their share of the market and did not risk losing customers to a competitor.
"There was plainly a financial motive."
Vina Money Transfer director Van Ngoc Lee and employee Tony Le, and Hong Vina director Khai Van Tran and employee Thi Huong Nguyen were each sentenced to jail, although they will not spend any time in custody.
The four will instead be released on recognisance orders to be of good behaviour.
The orders would ensure the offenders could rehabilitate instead of experiencing challenging conditions in prison due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Judge Abraham said.
Hai Ha's director Dianne Phuong Nguyen and her company were not charged with any offences.