May 20, 2015
Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke at a press conference to announce that 5 banks will be fined more than $5 billion in penalties and plead guilty to manipulating global currency markets.
Attorney General Bill Baer commented: “The charged conspiracy fixed the U.S. dollar – euro exchange rate, affecting currencies that are at the heart of international commerce and undermining the integrity and the competitiveness of foreign currency exchange markets which account for hundreds of billions of dollars worth of transactions every day.”
Those banks accused include:
• JPMorgan & Chase Co
• Royal Bank of Scotland
These banks, referred to themselves at “The Cartel”, collaborated to “fix rates on U.S. dollars and euros traded in the huge global market for currencies.”
Using chatrooms, the Cartel made customer orders at the expense of their clients to manipulate regulatory agencies and currencies from 2007 to 2013.
With client information, the fixing of daily currency prices was easy through inflating rates to build up profits.
The Department of Justice has charged the Cartel with criminal manipulation and they are expected to pay $2.5 billion in penalties; as well as $1.6 billion in fines from the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB).
Barclays will pay an additional $1.3 billion to British and US regulators.
The financial punishments are as follows:
- Citicorp, which was involved from as early as December 2007 until at least January 2013,has agreed to pay a fine of $925 million;
- Barclays, which was involved from as early as December 2007 until July 2011, and then from December 2011 until August 2012, has agreed to pay a fine of $650 million;
- JPMorgan, which was involved from at least as early as July 2010 until January 2013, has agreed to pay a fine of $550 million; and
- RBS, which was involved from at least as early as December 2007 until at least April 2010, has agreed to pay a fine of $395 million.
UBS has pleaded guilty to manipulating key interest rates and has agreed to a separate payment of $203 million for their actions.
The FRB announced that these banks, who were integral in the housing bubble and ultimate crash in 2008, have paid an estimated $9 billion in fines and $5.3 billion to the global currency market.
Lynch told the press: “Today’s historic resolutions are the latest in our ongoing efforts to investigate and prosecute financial crimes, and they serve as a stark reminder that this Department of Justice intends to vigorously prosecute all those who tilt the economic system in their favor; who subvert our marketplaces; and who enrich themselves at the expense of American consumers. The penalty these banks will now pay is fitting considering the long-running and egregious nature of their anticompetitive conduct. It is commensurate with the pervasive harm done. And it should deter competitors in the future from chasing profits without regard to fairness, to the law, or to the public welfare.”