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Harry Cassin
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Thomas Fox
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Five banks fined $3.3 billion for forex manipulation

Regulators in the United States, Britain, and Switzerland penalized five banks $3.3 billion for rigging foreign-exchange benchmarks.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority, and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority fined Switzerland’s UBS AG $800 million.

Citigroup Inc. was fined $668 million.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. will pay $662 million.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc was fined $634 million.

And HSBC Holdings Plc is paying $618 million.

The FCA said its fines relate to “ineffective” controls at the banks between early 2008 and late 2013. The banks put their “interests ahead of those of their clients, other market participants and the wider U.K. financial system,” the FCA said.

The FCA’s fines were the biggest ever levied by the regulator. It listed the penalties as Citibank N.A. £225,575,000 ($358 million), HSBC Bank Plc £216,363,000 ($343 million), JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. £222,166,000 ($352 million), The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc £217,000,000 ($344 million), and UBS AG £233,814,000 ($371 million).

The FCA launched its investigation of the banks in October 2013.

The CFTC fines were: UBS – $371 million, Citibank – $358 million, JP Morgan Chase – $352 million, Royal Bank of Scotland –  $344 million, and HSBC – $343 million.

Barclays Plc said Tuesday it is still in settlement talks.

The FCA said it plans to “progress” its probe into Barclays foreign exchange trading business.

In this week’s action, the Swiss regulator FINMA penalized UBS $139 million.

Bloomberg said the six banks including Barclays “have set aside about $5.3 billion in recent weeks for legal matters, including the currency investigations.”


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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