£413 million fine for bank chat room interest rate derivatives price riggers

HSBC, JP Morgan and Crédit Agricole have been slapped with a €485million (£413million) fine by the European Commission for their role in a cartel which conspired to rig a key bank lending mechanism. After a five-year investigation, the EU’s anti-trust watchdog said the three banks colluded to manipulate the Euribor interest rate between September 2005 […]

HSBC, JP Morgan and Crédit Agricole have been slapped with a €485million (£413million) fine by the European Commission for their role in a cartel which conspired to rig a key bank lending mechanism.

After a five-year investigation, the EU’s anti-trust watchdog said the three banks colluded to manipulate the Euribor interest rate between September 2005 and May 2008 by exchanging sensitive information ‘to distort the normal course of pricing’.

JP Morgan was given the biggest fine at €337million. HSBC was handed a €33million penalty and Crédit Agricole was given €114million. The fines were based on the time each participated in the cartel and the value of products involved.

In a statement, the European Commission said: ‘The participating traders of the banks were in regular contact through corporate chat-rooms or instant messaging services.
‘The traders’ aim was 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.’

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