The EU competition watchdog just fined HSBC, Credit Agricole and JP Morgan Chase €485m over Euribor

 
Emma Haslett
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HSBC was one of the lenders fined (Source: Getty)

HSBC is one of three banks fined a total of €485m (£412.4m) over their participation in a Euribor rigging cartel, the European Commission's antitrust watchdog said today.

HSBC will pay €33.6m over its month-long participation in the cartel, which rigged euro interest rate derivatives, while Credit Agricole will pay €114.7m and JP Morgan willl pay €337.2m, both for five months' participation.

In a statement the European Commission said the banks had colluded on euro interest rate derivative pricing elements, and exchanged sensitive information, in breach of antitrust rules.

It's not the first time banks have been penalised over Euribor rigging. Barclays, Deutsche Bank, RBS and Societe Generale settled with the regulator in 2013, but the European Commission said the three banks charged today had chosen not to reach a settlement.

“A sound and competitive financial sector is essential for investment and growth," said commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

"Banks have to respect EU competition rules just like any other company operating in the single market."

HSBC, whose shares were up 3.4 per cent at 676.2p in lunchtime trading, said: "The European Commission’s decision relates to allegations of Euribor manipulation and related purported conduct during the course of one month in early 2007. We believe we did not participate in an anti-competitive cartel. We are reviewing the European Commission’s decision and considering our legal options."

Credit Agricole also hit back, saying it will appeal the the decision, and added that the fine will not affect its 2016 financial statements because it has previously set aside provisions.

A spokesperson for JP Morgan added:

“We have cooperated fully with the European Commission throughout its five year investigation. We did not engage in any wrongdoing with respect to the Euribor benchmark.

"We will continue to vigorously defend our position against these allegations, including through possible appeals to the European courts.”