A group of eight financial institutions, including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Societe Generale SA (GLE.FR) and Deutsche Bank AG (DB), were fined a record-breaking EUR1.71 billion ($2.32 billion) by European Union regulators Wednesday for collusion in fixing key benchmark rates.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS.LN), U.S. giant Citigroup Inc. (C) and broker RP Martin were also fined by the European Commission in the latest chapter of the rate-rigging scandal that has shaken the financial sector.
The EU's antitrust watchdog said the institutions were involved in illegal cartels either in the yen Libor rate or its euro-area counterpart, known as Euribor, and some were involved in manipulating both benchmarks. The rates are used to price trillions of dollars in assets around the world from derivatives to mortgages.
The highest fine in the Euribor case was handed down to Deutsche Bank, at EUR466 million, while France's Societe Generale was fined EUR446 million. In the yen Libor probe, RBS was fined EUR260 million, Deutsche Bank EUR259 million and JPMorgan EUR79.9 million.
The U.K.'s Barclays PLC (BCS) avoided a fine for Euribor manipulation while Swiss lender UBS AG (UBS) won't be penalized in the yen Libor probe because they blew the whistle on the illegal practices and cooperated in the investigation, though both admit wrongdoing. Whistleblowers can win immunity in cartel cases or see their fines reduced under EU rules designed to encourage corporate wrongdoers to self-report collusion.
JPMorgan, HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBC) and Credit Agricole SA (ACA.FR) have been involved in the talks, but refused to settle the Euribor settlement and now face formal proceedings that could pave the way for large fines at a later stage. ICAP PLC (IAP.LN), an interdealer broker, wasn't part of the joint settlement.
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