Royal Bank Of Scotland's Involvement In Rate Rigging Cartel Sends Powerful Message To Would-Be Copycats

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If you're going to team up with other banks to manipulate interest rates and engage in other shady behavior, just make sure to be the first one to go to regulators and let them know what you've all been up to.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. was fined a total of more than €72 million ($92 million) by European Union regulators Tuesday for rigging a benchmark interest rate and operating a separate cartel for Swiss franc derivatives, marking the latest phase in an EU crackdown on alleged market abuse by financial institutions. The European Commission, the bloc’s central antitrust regulator, said J.P. Morgan and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC had colluded between March 2008 and July 2009 in an attempt to rig the Swiss Franc London interbank offered rate, a benchmark interest rate. In a separate decision, the commission said J.P. Morgan, RBS and two Swiss banks— Credit Suisse Group AG and UBS AG —had operated a cartel for Swiss franc interest rate derivatives between May and September 2007. UBS was fined €12.7 million for participating in the cartel, while Credit Suisse will pay €9.2 million. All banks recognized their involvement in the cartels, in exchange for a 10% reduction in their respective fines, the EU’s antitrust chief Joaquín Almunia said in a statement. “Cartels in the financial sector, whatever form they take, will not be tolerated,” Mr. Almunia said. RBS avoided fines of around €115 million because it revealed the existence of the cartels.

J.P. Morgan Fined by EU Regulators Over Rate Rigging, Operating Cartel [WSJ]

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