Banks fined 1,7 billion EUR for participating cartels in the interest rate derivatives segment

The cartels affected financial derivatives, such as forward rate agreements, swaps, futures and options. These are instruments linked to a specific financial instrument or indicator or commodity, and through which specific risks can be traded in financial markets. They are used by banks or companies for the purpose of managing the risk of interest rate fluctuations.

Four banks (i.e. Barclays, Deutsche Bank, RBS and Société Générale) would have colluded to set interest rate derivatives in the EURO currency (Euribor) and six banks (i.e. UBS, RBS, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup and JP Morgan) would have colluded to fix the rates in the Japanese YEN (Libor). The European Commission has adopted two decisions under its cartel settlement procedure after a two-year investigation. This is the reason why all banks involved have been granted a 10% reduction in fines. The Euribor cartel was operated on the period between September 2005 and May 2008; whereas Libor cartel, covered the period from 2007 to 2010. In addition, the broker RP Martin was also involved in the Libor cartel and has been fined for facilitating the contacts between the banks. Two of the eight banks involved, i.e. Barclays and UBS, benefitted from total immunity under the 2006 Leniency Notice for revealing the existence of each of the cartels respectively.

In the context of the same investigations, proceedings were initiated against Credit Agricole, HSBC and JP Morgan concerning the Euribor cartel and against the cash broker ICAP regarding the Libor cartel. These investigations are currently ongoing under the standard (i.e. not settlement) cartel procedure.