Five of the world’s largest banks have been hit with $3.4 billion fines for two reasons—price fixing and manipulation.
HSBC, Citigroup, and Swiss bank’s UBS are facing criminal lawsuits over accusations of adjusting prices in the foreign exchange market. Royal Bank of Scotland and US banks JP Morgan Chase were also suspected for attempting to manipulate forex rates. Meanwhile, the British multinational banking company, Barclays is also having a separate investigation going on.
It was the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that are regulating the case and have issued the fines. Concurrently, the Swiss regulator, Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has seized UBS with 134 million Swiss francs, making UBS devoured the largest fraction of the penalty paying over $661 million to Britain’s FCA and CFTC.
FCA Chief Executive Martin Wheatley said in his interview that the individuals who have been part of the atrocity will have to face the consequences for their actions and misconduct. He also said that because of what happened and the continuing failings of the foreign exchange market, the public have lost trust to the system and forex have let down enthusiasts.
A few traders who helped in the scandal were already put on leave while the Serious Fraud Office is now preparing criminal charges against those who are suspected to have organized the game plan.
Both FCA and CFTC have found that the manipulation had been going on for many years as per their investigation. FCA said that suspicious failings happened between January 2008 and October 2013; while the CFTC found that it occurred between 2009 and 2012. They said that these five banks coordinated with each other in order to successfully manipulate the standard forex rates.
The CFTC said that communications between five banks happened through private online chat rooms. The banks used different code names such as “the A-team”, “the 3 musketeers”, and more.
Despite legal actions of the regulators, the five involved banks are denying the accusations.