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EU fines JPMorgan, UBS, Credit Suisse for taking part in cartels

JPMorgan, UBS and Credit Suisse were fined a total of €94 million by the European Commission for taking part in cartels in the financial sector.

The Commission handed JPMorgan a €61.7-million fine for rigging the Swiss franc Libor benchmark interest rate between March 2008 and July 2009.

It was also fined €10.5 million for participating in a cartel on Swiss franc interest rate derivatives.

UBS’ penalty in the derivatives cartel came to €12.7 million and that of Credit Suisse was €9.2 million. Royal Bank of Scotland alerted the Commission about both cartels and escaped €115 million in fines.

Acting against financial cartels is one of our top priorities, given the importance of a healthy, transparent, well-functioning financial sector for the entire economy

The penalties are the latest by the European Commission, which along with authorities around the world, has handed down billions of euros in fines against top banks for rate-rigging, breaking trade sanctions and other misbehaviour.

“Acting against financial cartels is one of our top priorities, given the importance of a healthy, transparent, well-functioning financial sector for the entire economy,” European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said.

The EU competition watchdog said the banks in the interest rate derivatives cartel agreed to collectively fix a pricing element which should have been determined by the market, between May and September 2007 with the aim of preventing rivals from competing on the same terms.

All the banks admitted wrongdoing in return for a 10 per cent reduction in their fines.

The Commission slap­ped a record €1.7-billion fine on six financial institutions last December for rigging two financial benchmarks.

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