Home Stock & SharesBanks Banks fined almost $100m (£81.05m) by Swiss watchdog

Banks fined almost $100m (£81.05m) by Swiss watchdog

by Jonathan Adams

The Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO) fined several European and US banks almost 100 million Swiss francs (£78.88m) over interest rate cartels.

This marks the latest punishment in connection with rate-rigging scandals.

COMCO began its investigation in December 2012, after Barclays became the first bank to settle allegations it had attempted to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor).

The bank paid a $450m (£364.79m) fine to US and UK authorities.

The COMCO penalties announced today, the largest of which was a 33.9 million franc (£26.75m) fine for JPMorgan Chase & Co, are relatively small compared to other sanctions doled out in rate-rigging cases.

But they are a further sign of the collusion which took place in the setting of interest rate derivatives, used by banks and companies to manage the risk of interest rates fluctuations.

COMCO said several banks had participated in cartels over Swiss franc Libor, the bid-ask spread on Swiss franc interest rate derivatives, Yen Libor, Euroyen Tibor and Euribor.

The JPMorgan fine came after COMCO concluded it operated a bilateral cartel with Royal Bank of Scotland with the aim of influencing the Swiss franc Libor benchmark between March 2008 and July 2009, COMCO said in a statement.

RBS received full immunity for revealing the existence of the cartel to the COMCO.

Barclays was fined 29.8 million francs (£23.51m) for participating in a cartel in euro interest rate derivatives, COMCO said.

Proceeding is ongoing against BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, HSBC, JPMorgan and Rabobank over the euro interest rate cartel, COMCO said.

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