BNP Paribas USA (BNP), A BNP Paribas unit, will pay $90M to settle a criminal case alleging foreign currency price manipulation. It also pleaded guilty by admitting that it conspired to fix prices for Eastern European, Central European, African, and Middle Eastern (CEEMEA)currencies between 9/2011 and 7/2013.
According to the US Justice Department, the BNP Paribas unit engaged in rigging prices through fake trades, orchestrated trades, and by quoting specific prices to certain customers, all on an electronic trading platform. The settlement also settles investigations conducted by the New York State Department of Financial Services and the US Federal Reserve.
In a statement, BNP Paribas USA said that it regretted “the past misconduct” that resulted in this case. The unit will now cooperate with the US government’s ongoing investigation into currency rigging involving the FX market. The bank joins Barclays Plc (BARC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JP), Citigroup (C), UBS Group AG (UBS), and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS) in pleading guilty to currency rigging in US probes. Together, the six banks have agreed to pay over $2.8B in fines.
News of this latest currency rigging settlement comes one year after former HSBC (HSBC) trader Jason Katz pleaded guilty to with conspiring to manipulate currency prices. Like BNP Paribas USA, Katz had traded in the currencies for all those regions while on the NY FX desks of three financial institutions. Also that month, Christopher Cummins, a dealer of CEEMEA currencies, too, pleaded guilty to conspiring to rig prices in the FX market while at an FX desk.
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Sixth Major Bank to Plead Guilty in Ongoing Foreign Currency Exchange Investigation Agrees to Pay $90 Million Criminal Fine, Justice.gov, January 26, 2018
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