By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 20, 2015
The U.S. Department of Justice held a press conference in Washington, D.C. this morning at 10 a.m. to announce that two of the largest banks in the United States, Citicorp, a unit of Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase & Co., would plead guilty to felony charges in connection with the rigging of foreign currency trading. Two foreign banks, Barclays PLC and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), also pleaded guilty to felony charges in the same matter. A fifth bank, UBS, pled guilty to rigging the interest rate benchmark known as Libor.
Today’s felony charges fall just short of the 19th anniversary of the U.S. Justice Department charging almost every major firm on Wall Street, including JPMorgan, the predecessors of Citigroup, and UBS with fixing prices on the Nasdaq stock market. No criminal charges were brought. That now looks like a serious mistake.
The Justice Department today imposed the following fines:
Citicorp, which was involved from as early as December 2007 until at least January 2013, was fined $925 million;
Barclays, which was involved from as early as December 2007 until July 2011, and then from December 2011 until August 2012, will pay a fine of $650 million;
JPMorgan, which was involved from at least as early as July 2010 until January 2013, has agreed to pay a fine of $550 million;
RBS, which was involved from at least as early as December 2007 until at least April 2010, will pay a fine of $395 million.
Barclays was found to have violated its June 2012 non-prosecution agreement involving Libor and required to pay an additional $60 million criminal penalty. UBS was also found to have violated its December 2012 non-prosecution agreement and was required to plead guilty to a one-count felony charge of wire fraud in that matter and required to pay a criminal penalty of $203 million.
All five banks were put on a 3-year probation which will be overseen by a Federal Court and ordered to cease all criminal activity.
Other regulators imposed additional fines, bringing the total today to $5.4 billion.
Related Documents Released by the Justice Department: