BNP Paribas has been slapped with a $90 million fine in a settlement with the US Department of Justice (DoJ), over its attempts to manipulate foreign exchange markets.
The DoJ also ordered France’s biggest bank to put in place a program to ensure that the alleged violation doesn’t happen again.
The settlement, which BNP announced late on Thursday after the DoJ filed the deal with a US judge, comes one year after a senior trader of the lender managed to reach a settlement in January 2017, but only after having to enter a guilty plea to criminal charges.
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Jason Katz, who was a trader at Barclays and BNP Paribas, was found to have supressed competition by fixing prices in Central and Eastern European, Middle Eastern and African (CEEMEA) currencies. Alongside other co-conspirators, he manipulated prices on an electronic trading platform “through the creation of non-bona fide trades, coordinated the placement of bids and offers on that platform and agreed on currency prices they would quote specific customers, among other conduct,” according to a press release from the US Department of Justice.
Earlier last year, the New York regulator accused more than a dozen traders and salespeople working for the Paris-based bank of manipulating the $5.3 trillion a day forex market and other illegal activity over the course of six years. BNP Paribas has since agreed to pay $350 million to make up for the misconduct.
“This guilty plea holds BNP Paribas accountable for its corrupt price-fixing behavior which violated the integrity of the financial services industry and undermined competition,” said FDIC Inspector General Jay N. Lerner.
The move makes BNP one of the last big banks to reach a settlement for FX rigging. Other banks have also faced huge fines for allowing their traders to club together to rig prices in FX markets. Last year, four banks – Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rig the foreign exchange market and fines totalling $5.6 billion were handed down by the US Department of Justice.