HSBC among three banks fined €485m for interest rate rigging

HSBC among three banks fined €485m for interest rate rigging
HSBC, JPMorgan and Crédit Agricole fined €485m over Euribor

The European Commission has fined Crédit Agricole, HSBC and JPMorgan Chase a total of €485 million for participating in a cartel which rigged the Euribor benchmark.

An investigation found that the banks colluded on euro interest rate derivative pricing elements, and exchanged sensitive information, in breach of EU antitrust rules.

The cartel was in place between September 2005 and May 2008 and involved a total of seven banks (Barclays, Crédit Agricole, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, RBS and Société Générale) over varying time periods, covering the whole European Economic Area.

The traders' aim was to distort the normal course of pricing components for euro interest rate derivatives. They did this by telling each other their desired or intended Euribor submissions and by exchanging sensitive information on their trading positions or on their trading or pricing strategies.

This means that the seven banks colluded instead of competing with each other on the euro derivatives market.

Crédit Agricole, HSBC and JPMorgan Chase chose not to settle this cartel case with the Commission, unlike Barclays, Deutsche Bank, RBS and Société Générale, with whom the Commission reached a settlement concerning the same cartel in December 2013.

Today's decision marks the end of the cartel investigation that was the first of several in the financial services sector.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “A sound and competitive financial sector is essential for investment and growth. Banks have to respect EU competition rules just like any other company operating in the Single Market."

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