Swiss Regulator Imposes $90 Million Fine for FX Cartel Scandal

The fine was distributed amongst five banks - Barclays, Citigroup, JPMorgan, RBS and MUFG.

There has been another development in the foreign exchange (forex) “cartel” scandal, as four British and United States banks, and one Japanese firm, have been fined CHF 90 million ($90.53 million), the Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO) announced this Thursday.

Individually, Barclays was fined CHF 27 million, Citigroup incurred a penalty of CHF 28.5 million, JPMorgan copped a CHF 9.5 million fine, RBS was fined CHF 22.5 million and MUFG Bank was charged CHF 1.5 million.

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According to the statement released by the authority, otherwise known as WEKO, traders of Barclays, Citigroup, JPMorgan, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and UBS participated in a “three-way banana split” cartel from 2007 until 2013.

Through these chats, the coordination of certain G10 currencies took place. The abovementioned banks were punished after the Swiss agency found there were “several anti-competitive arrangements between banks in foreign exchange spot trading.”

UBS was not charged as it revealed the cartels to the competition authority first, the statement from COMCO said. Credit Suisse is still being investigated by WEKO, however, it has closed its investigation against Bank Julius Bär & Co. AG and Zürcher Kantonalbank.

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Banks Continue to Receive Fines for FX Cartel Scandal

This is not the first fine for the banks regarding this FX rigging scandal, in the United States, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, JPMorgan, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS have been collectively fined $2.8 billion, as they have all entered into related guilty pleas.

In Europe, the banks have also been subject to a number of fines. As Finance Magnates reported last month, the same five banks were fined by the European Commission (EC) over a billion euros for colluding with one another to manipulate foreign exchange markets.

As Finance Magnates reported in October last year, a US court dropped criminal complaints against three British traders accused of conspiring to rig the FX markets – Richard Usher, formerly of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Rohan Ramchandani, who worked at Citigroup Inc., and Chris Ashton, a former Barclays Plc trader.

The case was closed two years after a United Kingdom court acquited the men. The case in the US alleged that the London-based trio allegedly created a chat group that they named “the Cartel” to coordinate trading of US dollars and euros and manipulate the prices of the exchange rates.

However, the case was dropped after the men asked a US judge to dismiss the case against them, saying they did nothing wrong as their banks “weren’t always in direct competition.”

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