Five global banks will pay more than $5 billion in combined penalties and plead guilty to criminal charges to end a long-running U.S. investigation into whether traders colluded to move foreign-currency rates for their own financial benefit. The Wall Street Journal says the settlements mostly close the book on the investigation, part of a steady stream of probes into mortgage misdeeds, manipulative trading, and tax evasion. The biggest global banks have paid more than $60 billion in penalties over the past two years to resolve allegations of wrongdoing.
Barclays PLC, Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to manipulate prices in the $500 billion-a-day market for U.S. dollars and euros. another bank, UBS AG, admitted to manipulating the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. It will pay a fine for violating an earlier accord meant to resolve those allegations. The Journal says the possibility of five large banks admitting to criminal charges in a single day would have been unthinkable a few years ago, when executives warned the fallout would be disastrous to their ability to conduct business. The size and scope of the case reflect authorities' attempts to crack down on what they called “breathtaking” misconduct.