Five global banks to pay $5.7 billion in fines over rate rigging

Wed May 20, 2015 12:24pm EDT
 
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By Karen Freifeld

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Five of the world's largest banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc, were fined roughly $5.7 billion, and four of them pleaded guilty to U.S. criminal charges over manipulation of foreign exchange rates, authorities said on Wednesday.

A fifth bank, UBS AG, will plead guilty to rigging benchmark interest rates, the U.S. Justice Department said.

U.S. banks JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup will pay $550 million and $925 million in criminal fines, respectively, as part of their guilty pleas.

British banks Barclays Plc will pay $650 million in criminal penalties and Royal Bank of Scotland Plc $395 million. Each will plead guilty to one felony count of conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for U.S. dollars and euros in the foreign exchange spot market.

Euro dollar traders at four of the banks described themselves as members of “The Cartel” and used an electronic chat room and coded language to manipulate exchange rates to increase profits, the Justice Department said.

The $5.7 billion total includes $1.6 billion in fines separately imposed by the U.S. Federal Reserve on the five banks.

Separately, the Fed fined Bank of America Corp $205 million for unsound practices in foreign exchange.

Barclays also will pay an additional $1.3 billion to settle with the New York State Department of Financial Services, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the UK's Financial Conduct Authority, authorities said.   Continued...

 
A Citigroup office is seen at Canary Wharf  in London, Britain May 19, 2015.  Five of the world's largest banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc, were fined roughly $5.7 billion, and four of them pleaded guilty to U.S. criminal charges over manipulation of foreign exchange rates, authorities said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett