Thursday, 8 December 2016

HSBC Among Three Banks Fined £413m For Rigging


HSBC is considering launching an appeal against the EU after it was named among three banks that were fined a total of €485m (£413m) by Brussels for allegedly colluding to rig a key financial benchmark.

French bank Credit Agricole, US giant JPMorgan and HSBC were part of a cartel of seven banks that worked together to manipulate the Euribor interest rate between September 2005 and May 2008, the European Commission said today.

JPMorgan has been fined €337.2m, Credit Agricole has been ordered to pay €114.7m, and HSBC has been hit with a €33.6m penalty. Brussels said that traders at the banks used chat rooms and instant messaging services to try to “distort the normal course of pricing components for euro interest rate derivatives”.

“They did this by telling each other their desired or intended Euribor submissions and by exchanging sensitive information on their trading positions or on their trading or pricing strategies,” it said.

The fines mark the culmination of a five-year investigation into Euribor rigging by the European competition regulator and come three years after the four other banks that were part of the cartel - Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Societe Generale - admitted guilt and agreed a settlement of almost €825m with Brussels.

HSBC, Credit Agricole and JPMorgan all held out, however, and continue to deny any wrongdoing. Credit Agricole immediately said today that it would appeal its penalty and the other two lenders indicated they may join it.

“Credit Agricole firmly believes that it did not infringe competition law,” the French bank said. “Accordingly, it will appeal the Commission’s decision before the European courts.”

HSBC said it was “reviewing” the Brussels announcement and “considering our legal options”.



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