EU states rate-rigging case against HSBC, JPMorgan, Credit Agricole
BRUSSELS - Agence France-Presse
European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. AFP PhotoThe European Commission said on May 20 it had informed Credit Agricole, HSBC and JPMorgan of its reasons for believing they rigged interest rate benchmarks crucial to global financial markets.
Following a probe, the Commission said it had now told the three of its “preliminary view that they may have breached EU antitrust rules by colluding to influence the pricing of interest rate derivatives denominated in the euro currency.” Such action was “aimed at distorting the normal course of pricing components for euro interest rate derivatives,” it said in a statement.
If proven, the three would be in breach of European Union rules that prohibit anti-competitive business practices.
In December, the EU imposed a record 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in fines on six global lenders, including Deutsche Bank, France’s Societe Generale and Britain’s Royal Bank of Scotland, for their role in fixing interest rates used to set the price for a wide range of loans and investment instruments.
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said at the time the fines were meant to both “punish and dissuade” other lenders as part of efforts to restore order to the financial services industry after the excesses of the 2000s led to the bust and collapse of 2007-08.