Six global banks have agreed to pay more than US$5.6 billion to settle a long-running investigation into a forex rate rigging scandal.
Four of the banks — Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland — also agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix prices and rig bids in the forex market, Financial Times reported.
UBS pleaded guilty to a different charge, while Bank of America Corp. was fined but avoided a guilty plea over the actions of its traders in online chatrooms.
“The penalty all these banks will now pay is fitting, considering the long-running and egregious nature of their anticompetitive conduct,” US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at a news conference in Washington.
The settlement announced Wednesday marks the first time in decades that the parent or main banking unit of a major American financial institution has pleaded guilty to criminal charges.
It marks a major victory for the US Justice Department, which has often been accused of going soft on the big banks.
Authorities in the US and Europe have so far fined seven banks over US$10 billion on charges that the banks’ traders tried to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor.
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