Commissioner Joaquin Almunia at a press conference today. AP/Press Association Images
Rate Fixing

EU regulator levels 'cartel' charge against three top banks

JPMorganChase, HSBC and Credit Agricole are all in the dock

THE EUROPEAN COMPETITION regulator has said that JPMorganChase, HSBC and Credit Agricole were part of a ‘cartel’ manipulating the price of financial products.

It follows on from record fines imposed on banks found guilty of the same charges late last year.

The Commission fined Barclays, Deutsche Bank and Societie Generale €1.7 billion over collusion to manipulate a benchmark interest rate, which benefited the banks concerned.

Speaking today, European Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia said that since imposing the fines on the four banks that admitted culpability last December:

“We continued our investigation under the standard cartel procedure for the three parties that did not settle with the commission, CA, HSBC and JPMorganChase.

We have now reached the preliminary conclusion that these three banks may have pariticpated in this cartel too.”

The EU will now send a ‘statement of objections’ to the three banks, which all now have a chance to respond.

Almunia continued: “Activities in the financial markets, as in others, require transparency and healthy competition. These ingredients are essential in restoring trust in the financial sector, which is a precondition for a successful and sustained recovery.”

He said that the Commission is continuing its investigations int the Swiss Franc derivatives market and the Foreign Exchange Spot trading markets.

Three former bankers charged in connection with UK lending rate fixing>

European banks to be fined up to €1.6 billion each today for rate-fixing>

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