JPMorgan, HSBC, Credit Agricole "Bank Cartel" Fined $521 Million For Euribor Rigging

Tyler Durden's picture

With global bank stocks soaring on expectations - and hope - that financial sector regulation will be broadly swept away under Trump, today Europe did its best to show that, at least for now, the banks are not in the clear when the European Commission has fined JPMorgan, Credit Agricole and HSBC a total of €485 million ($521 million) for rigging the Euribor benchmark as European Union antitrust regulators wrapped up a five-year investigation into the scandal.

The three banks colluded on euro interest rate derivative pricing elements, and exchanged sensitive information, in breach of EU antitrust rules, the European Commission said on Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. JPMorgan was fined 337.2 million euros, HSBC got a 33.6 million-euro penalty and Credit Agricole must pay 114.7 million euros. Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition policy chief, said banks “have to respect EU competition rules just like any other company operating in the single market.”

“The aim of the cartel was to distort” Euribor, Ms Vestager said. The traders involved “tried to submit quotes to move the Euribor rate up or down”. The Commission found evidence in records from online messaging services of traders “congratulating each other on work well done,” she said adding that "The enforcement of competition rules brought to light widespread collusion between banks."

The fines mark the final stage in what began as a far wider investigation into a cartel of banks that manipulated interest rate derivatives linked to the Euribor benchmark rate. Four other banks reached a settlement with the Commission concerning the same cartel back in 2013.

As Bloomberg reports, the EU’s investigation into Euribor manipulation was strained three years ago after Credit Agricole, JPMorgan and HSBC refused to join a multi-bank settlement with four other lenders including Deutsche Bank AG and Societe Generale SA. Since then, the holdouts have been a thorn in the commission’s side, successfully delaying the process and showing up the regulator for its handling of the case. The three lenders were handed a statement of objections in May 2014 accusing them of colluding to rig Euribor rates in the wake of a global scandal embroiling some of the world’s biggest banks. By refusing to settle the case with the commission they forfeited the chance of a 10 percent discount on any fines.

Slap on the wrist-sized fine notiwthstanding, the banks remained defiant. JPMorgan “did not engage in any wrongdoing with respect to the Euribor benchmark,” Jennifer Zuccarelli, a spokeswoman for the bank in London, said in the statement. “We will continue to vigorously defend our position against these allegations, including through possible appeals to the European courts.”

Credit Agricole in a statement said it “firmly believes that it did not infringe competition law” and that “it will appeal the commission’s decision.” The fine payment “will not affect the 2016 financial statements given the provisions set aside previously,” the Montrouge, France-based bank said.

HSBC said it “did not participate in an anti-competitive cartel,” and is also considering its legal options, according to a statement.

About $9 billion in fines have been levied against a dozen banks by global authorities over the manipulation of LIBOR and similar benchmarks in the last four years and more than 20 traders charged.

Last year, Tom Hayes, a former UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. employee, became the first trader to be jailed over the Libor scandal, and is serving an 11-year sentence in the U.K. for his part in rigging Yen Libor. Several Euribor traders from Deutsche Bank and Barclays are due to stand trial in London next year. One trader from Societe Generale has also been charged.

Vestager left open the possibility of further fines for financial firms caught up in global scandals -- but refused to be drawn on when the EU would wrap up a probe into the manipulation of currency markets.

This is “a very large, very complex case, with a lot of participants and that makes it very difficult” to give a timeline. So more wristslaps may be coming.

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Leatherneck59's picture

Did these banks admit or deny guilt?

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Slap on the wrist.  These guys manipulated one of the most important interest benchmark in the world. 

This is why this shit continues. Make $4 Billion, pay $500 million fine. 

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"It's just the cost of doing bidness." - Tony Soprano

Troy Ounce's picture


Don't you understand?

Everything is rigged.

Except gold.


Paging Assange, Anonymous, Putin: WORK TO DO!



Ghordius's picture

how can you write that? the current gold markets are possibly the most rigged on the planet

one of the main reasons to buy and hold on physical gold is exactly there:

there are something like sixty promises to deliver gold... per gold bar. and those promises are what is traded... regardless if there is any chance to ever get delivery

scrap that, there is a chance of getting delivery, it just varies from 1 in 40 to 1 in 70

Ecclesia Militans's picture

I almost never agree with Ghordius.  Except this time.

Donald J. Trump's picture

There they go criminalizing normal behavior again.

Ghordius's picture

well, the problem starts with your "manipulated". it sounds good, but it is not the thing, here

ZH: "The three banks colluded on euro interest rate derivative pricing elements, and exchanged sensitive information, in breach of EU antitrust rules, the European Commission said "

note a few things in this article

first, it's the EU Commission slapping a fine on bankers protesting that they have "done nuffin wrong"

second, the expectation in the US, according to ZH, is that this kind of things will cease... there, i.e. financial regulation is going to be (further) scrapped in the US

part of the problem is there: financial regulation is resisted by megabanks, and they have lots of lobbyists

but another part of the problem is that it is not easy to make a legal case for "market manipulation". as for many things, you have to define what a market manipulation is (yeah, it reminds of that Clinton thing)

fact is that the dreaded, hated EU Commission has been doing something about it, and all based on the concepts of anti-trust and anti-cartel

Diplodicus Rex's picture

"fact is that the dreaded, hated EU Commission has been doing something about it"

Sure they have. However, it cannot have escaped your eagle-eyed notice that those same EUrocrats you clearly love so much have just created a new, one-off tax payment of $521 payable into to their coffers. Please persuade me that they "did it for the good of ..." whatever and they were at no time swayed by the $521 cash injection into their (bankrupt, audit-failed) slush fund. Enquiring minds would like to know.

Ghordius's picture

well, you are an enquiring mind, so do check on this:

- "bankrupt": nope, the EU has a seven-year budget. next "budget time" is 2020. btw, they get roughly one trillion per seven years from the members

- "non-audited": not quite. they used to be audited but the auditors refused to sign. now, this is in the past

- "slush-fund": now this is funny. I gently urge you to check where the fine money is going to. you'll be amazed

besides, explain to me why defending truth becomes loving Eurocrats

Diplodicus Rex's picture

"well, you are an enquiring mind, so do check on this:"
I did as you suggested. Here is what I found:

Mr Draghi prints £90bn a month out of thin air. You can call that whatever you want.

Agreed. Not quite. Audited but not "free from material error" with the key word being "material" i.e something which matters.

Ok. I give in. I could not find any mention of where the money is going and therefore I still assume it is going into the EU coffers until I know differently. If you know where it is going please educate me.

I don't think the word "truth" means what you think it means.

By definition, a crime was committed. Therefore it begs two questions:
Why is no-one going to jail?
Applying a "fine" is no different to benefiting from the proceeds of a crime, called "Reset" under UK law. (I'm not sure what other countries' legal systems call it.) Why is total amount of money stolen not given back to whom from which it was stolen instead of a portion of it going into the pockets of those perceived to be dishing out the "punishment"?

Raffie's picture

A whole $541million?

ROFLMAO..... once again the "Take A Penny" dish is empty.

TheVoicesInYourHead's picture

So who is going to jail for this fraud?


Crawdaddy's picture

Assuming the fine is paid, who really gets the money? Is the fine tax deductable?

nmewn's picture

Again, just so we're all clear here.

The banks were fined. Not the executives.


Now we can resume what we were talking about ;-)


FX223's picture

Not to worry, only little people got hurt.

nixy's picture

But of course ...they are meant to be hurt..... They just can't see (or feel) it.


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming already in progress.

nmewn's picture

It's like diplomatic immunity except for bankers.

"Yes! I realize you've caught me red handed here in bed with a dead boy and a live gerbil but I have diplomatic immunity!"

Geebus it's so fucked up we'll never untangle it.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"Geebus it's so fucked up we'll never untangle it."

Free Corzone the gerbil.

<Youse gots to start somewhere.>

dexter_morgan's picture

Modern day les miserables.

Yen Cross's picture

 Tis, but a flesh wound--- Let the shenaingans continue>

Due North's picture

Perhaps this is simply profit-taking by Fascist government entities from their Fascist corporate components?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Everyone in power gets a taste in the new world mafia.

Oleg the Man's picture
Oleg the Man (not verified) Dec 7, 2016 7:08 AM

I know this is not the case, but you should know that there IS a way out. 


There are people, who knows their motherland belongs to them. 

Refugees Welcome. Tough Russian Edition 


Bank_sters's picture

Steal a candy bar go to jail. Steal billions pay a fine.  Same as it ever was.

SoDamnMad's picture

Two blind and drunken pirates firing broadsides at each other using toilet paper rolls for shot just to entertain spectators on the shore.

Like these fines between nations really punish the guilty bankers while just lining the pockets of some government agencies. 

Hey, throw some bankers in jail or better, hang a few from light poles.

Mass_hysteria's picture
Mass_hysteria (not verified) Dec 7, 2016 7:14 AM

just a fine........


that's all they get......a fine...




Slomotrainwreck's picture

just a fine........

The real question should be Who is the fine paid to and how many interest free monthly payments will be made. 1000 months = $521,000/month.

BTW, does anyone ever see an entry on the bank quarterly statement for fines paid?

stopcpdotcom's picture

Should throw the bank directors in prison. That would concentrate a few minds.

nixy's picture

But why?

They have done nothing wrong ...... according to government.

Robert Trip's picture

Jamie Dimon remained unscathed.

That's a relief.

nathan1234's picture

Let us be very clear

This is just an official method of sharing the loot /crime proceeds and trying to pull wool over the public's eyes.

People who lost money are not being compensated

Just another huge scam



nixy's picture

$521 million?

That is no fine.

That is a subscription.

Justin Case's picture

If the fine was too high, it would discourage fraud, theft, market front running, price manipulation, naked short selling, running stops etc. So that would not do the regulators on the take any good. It satisfies the sheople that someone is watching the hen house and handing out fines to keep'em honest, sorta. Dog and pony show for public consumption.

Repeat offenders of crimes go to prison. This corruption is Gov't sanctioned.

williambanzai7's picture

What size cement shoe do we wear?

gregga777's picture

The banking business model is an enterprise entirely based on criminality ranging from money laundering services for terrorists and international drug cartels to defrauding homeowners out of their homes and stealing businesses from honest entrepreneurs to sloughing off all of their losses onto taxpayers.

nixy's picture

Yes, they should never be referred to as 'banks'.

What does the term 'bank' mean, truthfully .

michaelmobius1's picture

we need a massive wikileaks revelation for the whole of the banking system

wholy1's picture

And not one of the super-parasites does time cuz . . . Eric the-race-baiter-in-drag-Loretta super-ass" has them covered!

Nicaraguarules's picture

Missed the part about prison sentences?

J J Pettigrew's picture

Once again...fines, but no one goes to jail.

Rob the bank, and then if caught, be forced to give some back....and back to some blind fund run by whom and for what??

bankerssuck's picture

I assume this is just another payment to the blackmail govmint.

But it is also just a circle jerk of computer digits from the banks to the govmints to the central banks back to the banks.

They believe it is ok to steal a persons labor and savings, you know, its all for the national security of the nation.

Banksters, govtmints you suck.

GRDguy's picture

"National security" really means security for TPTB from the nationals.  

silverer's picture

Awesome concept: Rob 10 million, give back 3 million, go free.

Nunyadambizness's picture

What about the COMEX manipulation?  I'll wait in expectation for more fines that do nothing but enrich the countries that do the fining.  

Justin Case's picture

After 5 yrs. of investigating, Bart Chilton said they didn't find anything unusual or any violations.

I just hate when someone has a $2 billion dollar fire sale of gold futures during the least liquid time of day to sell it in 10 minutes.

NoWayJose's picture

So if I go into a bank and rob it for $200,000 can I get off with a $15,000 fine?

bankerssuck's picture

If you are a banker, yes.