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$90 Million Criminal Fine for Price Fixing

Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Justice reports that a U.S. bank has agreed to pay a $90 million criminal fine after pleading guilty to participating in a price-fixing conspiracy in the foreign currency exchange market. According to a DOJ press release, the conspiracy included manipulation of prices on an electronic FX trading platform through the creation of non-bona fide trades, coordination of bids and offers on that platform, and agreements on currency prices to quote specific customers.

In addition to paying the fine the bank has agreed to cooperate with the federal government’s ongoing criminal investigation into antitrust and fraud crimes in the FX market and to report relevant information to the government. Both federal authorities and the bank have agreed to recommend no probation in light of, among other factors, the bank’s substantial efforts relating to compliance and remediation.  

Previously in this investigation four major banks pleaded guilty and agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion in criminal fines for their participation in an antitrust conspiracy to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros exchanged in the FX market. A fifth bank pleaded guilty to manipulating benchmark interest rates and agreed to pay a $203 million criminal penalty.

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