London, May 21:
British bank Barclays announced on Wednesday that it has agreed to pay a total fine of 1.533 billion pounds (or $2.4 billion) to British and American regulators for the manipulation of foreign exchange and currency.
Barclays will pay $710 million to the US Department of Justice (DOJ), followed by the New York State Department of Financial Services ($485 million), the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission ($400 million), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ($342 million) and the British Financial Conduct Authority ($284 million).
“This is the largest financial penalty ever imposed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), or its predecessor the Financial Services Authority (FSA),” Xinhua quoted FCA as saying.
Besides, three other banks — JPMorgan, Barclays, Citigroup and RBS — have agreed to plead guilty to US criminal charges, according to DOJ. The fifth bank, UBS, will plead guilty to rigging benchmark interest rates.
Barclays was fined the most, as it did not join other banks in November to settle investigations by Britain, the US and Swiss regulators.
The five world’s largest banks will pay fines totalling $5.7 billion for charges including manipulating the foreign exchange market.
Georgina Philippou, the FCA’s acting director of enforcement and market oversight, said: “Instead of addressing the obvious risks associated with its business Barclays allowed a culture to develop which put the firm’s interests ahead of those of its clients and which undermined the reputation and integrity of the UK financial system.”
The US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that starting as early as December 2007, currency traders at several multinational banks formed a group dubbed “the Cartel”.
For more than five years, traders in “the Cartel” used a private electronic chatroom to manipulate the spot market’s exchange rate between euros and dollars using coded language to conceal their collusion, said Lynch.
Their actions harmed “countless consumers, investors and institutions around the world”, she said. (IANS)