EU Commission fines banks $2.3 billion for benchmark rigging

Wed Dec 4, 2013 9:33am EST
 
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By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators vowed to keep investigating rate- rigging on Wednesday as they slapped a record 1.7 billion euro ($2.3 billion) 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 $6 billion.

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, which has yet to be fined by U.S. and UK regulators as part of separate investigations into benchmark interest-rate fixing, received the highest fine of 725.4 million euros.

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 2.5 billion euros and 690 million respectively for revealing the existence of the cartel.

U.S. and French banks were penalized 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.   Continued...

 
European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia addresses a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels December 4, 2013. REUTERS/Yves Herman