Swiss COMCO closes EURIBOR investigation against Crédit Agricole and HSBC France
The Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO) has closed its EURIBOR investigation against Crédit Agricole and HSBC France. The investigation ends with amicable settlements and sanctions.
COMCO has approved the amicable agreement reached by its Secretariat with Crédit Agricole and HSBC France. It thus closes the investigation into the interest rate derivatives in euros based on EURIBOR vis-à-vis these banks by imposing a sanction of approximately CHF 4.5 million on Crédit Agricole and a sanction of almost CHF 2 million on HSBC France.
On February 3, 2012, COMCO opened an investigation against several banks and brokerage houses for alleged manipulation of benchmark interest rates in derivatives transactions.
In 2016, this probe was divided into five sub-probes including the EURIBOR one. At the end of 2016, the COMCO issued a first partial decision regarding the manipulation of EURIBOR by which it ended the investigation against the banks Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Societe Generale through amicable settlements with sanctions. In mid-2019, WEKO closed the EURIBOR investigation against Rabobank without further action.
The decision of the COMCO can be appealed to the Federal Administrative Court.
In June 2019, COMCO concluded amicable settlements and imposed fines on a number of banks for their anti-competitive arrangements in FX spot trading.
Traders of Barclays, Citigroup, JPMorgan, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and UBS participated in the «Three way banana split» cartel from 2007 to 2013. Participants in the «Essex express» cartel (from 2009 to 2012) were traders of Barclays, MUFG Bank, RBS and UBS. The coordination of certain G10-currencies took place in chatrooms.
The afore-mentioned banks have committed not to conclude such agreements in the future. COMCO has fined these cartels with a total amount of about CHF 90 million. UBS was not fined as it revealed the cartels to the competition authorities first. The rounded sanctions amount to CHF 27 million for Barclays, CHF 28,5 million for Citigroup, CHF 9,5 million for JPMorgan, CHF 1,5 million for MUFG Bank and CHF 22,5 million for RBS.