Swiss regulator fines banks over rate rigging

The Swiss regulator handed out a total of CHF 99 million ($96.3 million) in fines to a group of banks.

A Swiss regulator has fined a group of banks for conspiring to rig key interest rates and the pricing of derivatives, with JP Morgan being handed the biggest individual fine by the body.

The Competition Commission (COMCO) closed its investigation over the rigging of the Swiss Franc Libor benchmark, and fined JP Morgan CHF 33.9 million ($33 million).

The commission concluded the bank operated a “bilateral cartel” alongside Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) between March 2008 and July 2009, with the aim of influencing the benchmark.

RBS received full immunity from being fined for “revealing the existence of the cartel to the COMCO”.

The regulator had issued a total of around CHF 99 million ($96.3 million) in fines to banks including JP Morgan, RBS, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Citigroup, and Societe Generale.

COMCO issued a CHF 45.3 million ($45 million) fine to three banks for participating in a “cartel in interest rate derivatives in euro” between September 2005 and May 2008, it said. Barclays received a CHF 29.7 million ($28.9 million) fine, while RBS was hit with a CHF 12.3 million ($12 million) fine.

The regulator said the banks had aimed to distort “the normal course of pricing components for interest rate derivatives in euro”.

In addition, RBS, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank was collectively fined CHF 14.4 million ($14 million) for conspiring to manipulate the Yen Libor rate and related Yen derivatives between 2007 and 2010, COMCO said.