EU fines Agricole, JPMorgan and HSBC $520 million over Euribor

Wed Dec 7, 2016 8:23am EST
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By Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission has fined Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA: Quote), HSBC (HSBA.L: Quote) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N: Quote) a total of 485 million euros ($520 million) for their alleged participation in a cartel to manipulate the price of the Euribor financial benchmark.

The Commission said on Wednesday they were part of a seven-bank cartel that colluded between September 2005 and May 2008 to distort the Euribor interest rate which was set using quotes submitted by a panel of banks and is widely used in international money markets.

JPMorgan Chase was fined 337.2 million euros and Credit Agricole 114.7 million euros for five-month involvements in the cartel. HSBC was set to pay 33.6 million euros for participating in the cartel for just one month.

All three insisted they had not engaged in any wrongdoing.

"We will continue to vigorously defend our position against these allegations, including through possible appeals to the European courts," JPMorgan said.

HSBC said it would consider its legal options.

Credit Agricole said it would appeal against the Commission's decision, adding the fine would have no impact on its 2016 results given it had already taken provisions.

Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote), RBS (RBS.L: Quote) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PA: Quote) admitted guilt in December 2013 and were fined 824.6 million euros, the sixth largest collective cartel fine ever handed down by the European Commission. Barclays (BARC.L: Quote) avoided a penalty because it alerted the Commission.   Continued...

A view of the exterior of the JP Morgan Chase & Co. corporate headquarters in New York City May 20, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files