Five banks fined £935m by EU for currency rigging

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Five banks have been fined £935m by the European Commission after traders united to rig foreign exchange markets. The fines have been split into two different cartels.

The ‘Banana Split’ cartel, which included Barclays, Citigroup, JP Morgan and RBS was fined £710m; and the ‘Essex Express’ cartel, which included Barclays, RBS and MUFG were fined £225m.

UBS were acquited of any involvement and financial penalties after revealing the cartel’s existence. The market rigging took place between 2007 and 2013, and the investigation into the cartels has been a six-year process.

The rigging was spread over 11 different currencies – Euro, British Pound, Japanese Yen, Swiss Franc, US, Canadian, New Zealand and Australian Dollars, and Danish, Swedish and Norwegian crowns.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: “Companies and people depend on banks to exchange money to carry out transactions in foreign countries. Foreign exchange spot trading activities are one of the largest markets in the world, worth billions of euros every day.

“Today we have fined Barclays, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Citigroup, JPMorgan and MUFG Bank and these cartel decisions send a clear message that the Commission will not tolerate collusive behaviour in any sector of the financial markets. The behaviour of these banks undermined the integrity of the sector at the expense of the European economy and consumers.”

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