Six banks in Europe fined $2.3bn for rate rigging …

BRUSSELS: EU antitrust regulators vowed to keep investigating rate- rigging yesterday as they slapped a record ¤1.7bn ($2.3bn) penalty on six financial institutions including Deutsche Bank, RBS and JPMorgan.

The fines by the Commission, which along with authorities around the globe has been examining the manipulation of London interbank offered rate (Libor) and its euro equivalent Euribor,  takes the tally of penalties related to the scandal to almost $6bn.

Confirming what a source familiar with the matter had previously told Reuters, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he had been shocked at the scale of the scam and was sending a clear message that Brussels would fight and impose sanctions on cartels.

Deutsche Bank received the highest fine of ¤725.4m. Germany’s largest lender and RBS were fined for their involvement in both the Euribor and Libor cartels. Also fined were JPMorgan and Citigroup, France’s Societe Generale and UK-based brokerage RP Martin. Swiss bank UBS and Britain’s Barclays avoided fines of ¤2.5bn and ¤690m respectively for revealing the existence of the cartel.

US and French banks were penalised for the first time in a scandal in which traders fiddled rates used as a reference point to price around $400 trillion worth of products worldwide, from derivatives to mortgages and student loans. Some banks declined to settle with the EU. France’s Credit Agricole and UK-based HSBC are disputing allegations, while the role played by UK-based brokerage ICAP  remains under investigation. JPMorgan has only settled allegations relating to yen-denominated Libor, not Euribor.

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