Europe’s biggest bank HSBC, U.S. peer JPMorgan, and France’s Credit Agricole have been charged by the European Union anti-trust regulators with rigging financial benchmarks linked to the euro.
It was further disclosed by the European Commission that it would charge broker ICAP soon for suspected manipulation of the yen Libor financial benchmark. European and U.S. regulators have till now handed down some $6 billion in fines to 10 banks and brokerages for rigging the London interbank offered rate (Libor) and Euribor, its euro cousin, while 16 men have been charged with fraud-related offenses by prosecutors.
“The Commission has concerns that the three banks may have taken part in a collusive scheme which aimed at distorting the normal course of pricing components for euro interest rate derivatives,” the EU competition authority said.
HSBC, JPMorgan, Credit Agricole, and ICAP Could face penalties of up to 10 percent of their global turnover if they are found guilty of breaching EU anti-trust rules.
A record 1.7-billion-euro ($2.3 billion) fine was levied on six banks including Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Citigroup in December for similar offences and the lenders settled their charges and received a 10-percent cut in their fines.
European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said regulators have yet to decide on the next step of an ongoing investigation into suspected collusion and rigging in the trillion-dollar foreign exchange market. “We received lots of information and we are looking into this information…We are not yet at this moment when I can announce steps of this case,” he said.
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