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EU Watchdog Charges Deutsche Bank, Rabobank Over Bond Cartel

 |  December 6, 2022

On Tuesday  the European Union antitrust regulators charged Deutsche Bank and Rabobank with taking part in a government bond cartel, which comes as the latest move against a sector that racked up millions of euros in fines for various competition violations.

The European Commission, which can fine companies up to 10% of their global turnover for antitrust violations, said it had sent a charge sheet known as a statement of objections to the banks.

The EU competition watchdog said the two banks coordinated pricing and trading strategies on euro-denominated sovereign, SSA (supra-sovereign, foreign sovereign, sub-sovereign/agency), covered and government-guaranteed bonds between 2005-2016.

It said some of their traders communicated mainly through emails and online chatrooms.

Read more: Dutch Rabobank Escapes US Chicken Cartel Case

“For effective competition to function, it is fundamental that economic operators determine their prices independently. Citizens need to be able to trust that financial institutions do not implement practices that restrict competition in bonds trading markets,” EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

Rabobank said it is cooperating with the European Commission and declined further comment. Deutsche Bank said it does not expect any sanction, suggesting that it may have alerted the cartel to the authorities.

“Deutsche Bank has proactively cooperated with the European Commission in this matter and as a result has been granted conditional immunity. By the European Commission’s guidelines, Deutsche Bank does not expect a financial penalty,” the German lender said.