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US: BNP Paribas fined US$90m for FX price fixing

 |  January 28, 2018

BNP Paribas pleaded guilty to a single count violation of the Sherman Act and agreed to a US$90 million criminal fine to settle an investigation into a foreign exchange price-fixing conspiracy involving central and eastern European, Middle Eastern and African currencies, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Friday, January 26.

“The Antitrust Division is committed to uncovering and prosecuting wrongdoing in all corners of the foreign currency exchange market, including this conspiracy affecting multiple emerging market currencies,” Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said in a statement. “The division’s investigation aims to root out and eradicate the manipulation that has plagued this industry.”

According to the DOJ, traders for the bank and unnamed co-conspirators attempted to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing prices of the affected currencies. Non-bona fide trades were entered into among the conspirators on an electronic FX trading platform, which were then either canceled or nullified by trades in the opposite direction in an attempt to conceal the actions from other FX participants.

From as early as late 2011 through at least 2013, the conspirators also coordinated price, size and timing of their bids and offers, federal prosecutors said, as well as agreeing to refrain from trading to help other co-conspirators with a need to buy or sell that was greater than the other participants, thus keeping prices beneficial to the favored trader.

Full Content: Financial Times

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