News | Published May 16 2019

Five banks fined over €1 billion by EU for exchange market rigging

Five banks were fined over €1 billion for currency rigging by the EU today.

Barclays, RBS, Citigroup, JP Morgan and MUFG were fined €1.07 billion for currency market rigging between 2007 and 2013.

The banks were found to be colluding via online chatrooms with one another in order to co-ordinate their trading plans.

Following the decision a European Commission spokesperson said: "Most of the traders participating in the chatrooms knew each other on a personal basis. 

"For example, one chatroom was called Essex Express 'n the Jimmy because all the traders but 'James' lived in Essex and met on a train to London.

"Some of the traders created the chatrooms and then invited one another to join, based on their trading activities and personal affinities, creating closed circles of trust."

The investigation by the commission began in 2013 and found that the banks had undermined the integrity of the financial sector.

Swiss bank UBS were pardoned by the commission because of the role they played in uncovering the existence of the collusion.

A UBS spokesperson said: "This is a legacy matter where UBS was the first bank to disclose potential misconduct.

"We've made significant investments to further strengthen our control framework since then and are pleased this matter is resolved."

The 'Banana Split' cartel, which was made up of traders from Barclays, RBS, Citigroup and JP Morgan, was fined a total of €811 million, while the Essex Express cartel, made up of traders from Barclays, RBS and MUFG, were fined €258 million.

Both Barclays and RBS said that they had set aside money to cover the fines.

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Authored by

William Winter
May 16 2019

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