Swiss regulator fines banks for fixing forex trading

June 6, 2019

ZURICH (Reuters) – Five banks have been fined a total of 90 million Swiss francs ($90.53 million) for colluding to rig the foreign exchange market, Switzerland’s competition authority said on Thursday.

The fines are the latest fall out from a scam which led to them being fined 1.07 billion euros ($1.20 billion) last month by the European Union for manipulating the multi-trillion dollar forex market.

Barclays, Citigroup, JP Morgan and Royal Bank of Scotland were punished by the Swiss authority, known as WEKO, said it found “several anti-competitive arrangements between banks in foreign exchange spot trading”.

Also punished was Japan’s MUFG Bank for its part in the scam which involved traders coordinating their activities through internet chatrooms.

Traders of Barclays, Citigroup, JPMorgan, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS participated in the so-called ‘Three way banana split’ cartel from 2007 to 2013, WEKO said. Participants in the ‘Essex express’ cartel which ran from 2009 to 2012 were traders of Barclays, MUFG Bank, RBS and UBS.

Barclays was fined 27 million francs, Citigroup 28.5 million francs, JPMorgan 9.5 million francs, MUFG Bank 1.5 million francs and RBS 22.5 million francs.

UBS was not punished because it revealed the cartels to the competition authorities first, while an investigation is still underway into Credit Suisse. WEKO said it had closed its investigation into Julius Baer and Zuercher Kantonalbank.

JP Morgan declined to comment, while Barclays, RBS, Credit Suisse and Citi did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

($1 = 0.8906 euros)

(Reporting by John Revill and Silke Koltrowitz)

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