RBS and Barclays among cartels of banks fined by Swiss watchdog for rate rigging

Hayley Kirton
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RBS has been fined SFr 17.1m for its involvement (Source: Getty)
he Swiss Competition Commission (Comco) has today fined a group of international banks 99m Swiss francs (£78m) over their involvement in four separate cartels, including some aimed at manipulating Libor.

The largest element of the fine went to a group of four banks which Comco claims acted in a cartel to fix Euribor for various lengths of time between September 2005 and May 2008. Three of these banks – Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and Societe Generale – were fined SFr45.3m between them, while Deutsche Bank was granted immunity for alerting Comco to the group's activities.

All four of the banks also signed a settlement on the matter earlier this month. Comco's proceedings against five other banks it claims were involved remains open.

Read more: Libor charges are about evidence, not people, says fraud squad boss

​Settlements have also been reached; for Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and RBS for involvement in manipulating Yen-linked Libor and the Euroyen Tokyo Interbank Offered Rate (Tibor) for one to 10 month periods between 2007 and 2010; for JP Morgan and RBS for participation in a bilateral cartel between March 2008 and July 2009 to fix Swiss Franc-linked Libor and for Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, RBS and UBS for participation in a Swiss Franc spread cartel.

In total, JP Morgan has been fined SFr38.1m, Barclays SFr29.8, RBS SFr 17.1m, Deutsche Bank SFr5m, Citigroup SFr3.8m, Soc Gen SFr3.3m and Credit Suisse SFr2m.

Meanwhile, UBS received immunity for flagging the spread cartel to the watchdog and RBS received immunity from a fine for its Swiss Franc-Libor activities with JP Morgan for the same reason.

The banks can appeal the regulator's decision.

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A statement from Barclays noted the bank was "pleased" to have reached the settlement, and noted it had "placed a huge emphasis on changing its culture" since the time when the activities took place. A spokesperson from Soc Gen added it has also "entirely reviewed its interbank rate submission process to comply in full with the new standards set by the various bodies and authorities concerned".

"The culture at RBS has changed dramatically in recent years," an RBS spokesperson added.

A Credit Suisse spokeswoman said the bank was "pleased to have resolved this matter", and a JP Morgan statement said the company was "pleased to settle" the matter.

Meanwhile, UBS, which is still under investigation for the matters relating to Yen-linked Libor, said it would "strongly defend its position".

Deutsche Bank declined to comment.

Citigroup did not immediately respond to City A.M.'s request for comment.

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