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EU fines banks €1.7 billion for rigging two global interest rate benchmarks

Six banks and one broker were hit with a record €1.7 billion fine from Europe’s top competition enforcer on Wednesday after admitting to participating in a cartel to rig two global interest rate benchmarks.

The multi-party settlements unveiled by the European Commission are the first results from a sweeping two-year probe into separate conspiracies to fix the Japan focused Yen Libor and its European sister benchmark Euribor, which allegedly involves a total of up to 10 financial groups.

Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland accepted taking part in both cartels and will pay fines of €725 million and €391 million respectively. Societe Generale will pay €446 million for attempting to rig the Euribor benchmark and profit from related derivatives. For Yen Libor related abuses JPMorgan accepted a fine of €79.8 million and Citi €70 million.

Barclays and UBS were spared penalties after being the first to alert authorities to the violations. But the banks accepted participating in the Euribor and Yen Libor cartels respectively.

UBS’s own fine would have totalled €2.5 billion had it not won immunity for Yen Libor, putting the already record total fines in the shade.