US officials hand down multi-billion forex-rigging fine to UBS, JPMorgan, RBS, Citicorp and Barclays

Catherine Neilan
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Loretta Lynch announcing the settlement over the forex scandal today (Source: Getty)

US officials have confirmed the multi-billion-dollar bill being paid by five of the world's biggest banks for their involvement in the forex-rigging scandal.

JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland, Citicorp and Barclays will plead guilty to US criminal charges, paying a total of $5.6bn to settle the allegations that date back to 2007. UBS is pleading guilty to rigging benchmark interest rates.
The Department of Justice has fined the five banks a total of $2.5bn; the Federal Reserve has fined them more than $1.6bn.
Barclays has settled fines totalling $1.3bn with the New York State Department of Financial Services, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the FCA, taking its total to $2.4bn.
Barclays's total was more than its counterparts as it did not join the other banks in November to settle the case with global authorities.
However Citicorp will pay $925m – the largest single fine imposed for a violation of the US antitrust law the Sherman Act.
Today’s resolutions bring the total fines and penalties paid by these five banks for their conduct in the FX spot market to nearly $9 billion.
Attorney general Loretta Lynch announced the details in a press conference this afternoon, saying the fines were “the latest in our ongoing efforts to investigate and prosecute financial crimes”.
They should “serve as a reminder that the DoJ will vigorously prosecute all of those who tilt the economic system in their favour, who subvert our marketplace and enrich themselves at the expense of the American consumer”, Lynch said.
She added: “Starting as early as 2007, currency traders at several banks formed a group they dubbed the cartel. It is fitting they chose that name as it describes the illegal behaviour they were engaged in on a five-year basis, almost every day for five years.”
“They acted as partners rather than competitors to push the exchange rate in directions favorable to their banks, but detrimental to many others.
“It harmed countless consumers, investors, and institutions around the world. including the banks' own customers who placed their faith in the market and relied on it to produce a competitive exchange rate.
“These figures appropriately reflect the conspiracies , the systemic reach and significant impact,” Lynch said.
“UBS promised not to commit additional crimes, but it did,” Lynch said. “This represents the first time in recent history that the Department of Justice has found a company breached a nonprosecution agreement over the objection of that company.
“I want to be clear: the Department of Justice will not hesitate to file criminal charges for financial institutions that reoffend.”

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