'Five banks including Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland have been fined more than €1bn (£875m) by the European Union for rigging the multitrillion-dollar foreign exchange market.
The European commission said the banks, which also include Citigroup, JP Morgan and MUFG (Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group), formed two cartels to manipulate the spot foreign exchange market for 11 currencies, including the US dollar, the euro and the pound.
The commission’s penalty adds to the £1.3bn in fines imposed by the UK Financial Conduct Authority in 2014 over the same case. While the FCA’s penalty focused on the lender’s breach of regulations, the EU’s fine deals with how their behaviour dampened competition.
“These cartel decisions send a clear message that the commission will not tolerate collusive behaviour in any sector of the financial markets,” the European competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said in a statement.
The banking industry has been hit with billions in fines worldwide over the last decade for rigging benchmarks used in many day-to-day financial transactions, and are now at risk of private lawsuits.
Law firm Scott + Scott said it is preparing to launch a case on behalf of European clients after securing a $2.3 bn (£1.8bn) settlement in a US class action suit related to foreign exchange market rigging. That class action involved 15 banks, including HSBC, Barclays, RBS, UBS, BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank.'
Read more: UK banks fined €1 billion by EU for rigging foreign exchange market