Europe: The European Commission fined top banks including UBS and Unicredit a total of 371 million euros ($452 million) on Thursday for running a bond-trading cartel during the worst years of the eurozone debt crisis.
The decision, announced by EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager, said traders from seven investment banks colluded in online chatrooms to fix prices and share sensitive information.
“It is unacceptable, that in the middle of the financial crisis, when many financial institutions had to be rescued by public funding these investment banks colluded in this market at the expense of EU member states,” she said in a statement.
Bank of America and the French company Natixis escaped a penalty thanks to the statute of limitations. Portigon (formerly WestLB), which did not generate any turnover during the last financial year, had nothing to pay.
Japan’s Nomura was fined 129.5 million euros, Switzerland’s UBS 172.4 million euros and Italy’s UniCredit 69.4 million euros, the statement said.
Brussels had already fined Credit Suisse, Credit Agricole and Bank of America Merrill Lynch a total of 28 million euros in April for colluding in the market for US dollar-denominated bonds.
Deutsche Bank had been spared for disclosing the matter.
In May 2019, five banks had been fined more than one billion euros for two cartels on the foreign exchange market during the financial crisis between 2007 and 2013.
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