Regulators in the U.K., U.S. and Switzerland imposed civil penalties of $3.2 billion Wednesday on banks suspected of manipulating the $5.3-trillion-a-day foreign exchange currency-trading market.

The U.K’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced it fined JPMorgan Chase $352 million (£222 million), Citibank $358 million (£226 million), HSBC $343 million (£216 million), the Royal Bank of Scotland $344 million (£217 million) and UBS $371 million (£234 million).

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said it imposed more than $1.4 billion in penalties – $310 million each for Citibank and JPMorgan, $290 million each for the RBS and UBS, and $275 million for HSBC.

Swiss regulator FINMA ordered UBS to pay $139 million (134 million Swiss francs).

The Wall Street Journal said Barclays PLC, which had been in late-stage settlement talks, pulled out at the last minute.

The bank told the WSJ in a statement that it had engaged with regulators and considered a settlement on “closely similar terms” to those announced on Wednesday but that after discussions with other regulators and authorities it had decided to seek a “more general coordinated settlement.”

The FCA said it would progress its investigation into the firm, and added that it was launching an industry-wide remediation programme to ensure companies address the root causes of the failing and drive up standards.

It said the fines were the largest it, or its predecessor the Financial Services Authority, had ever imposed.

Aitan Goelman, the CFTC’s Director of Enforcement, said: “The setting of a benchmark rate is not simply another opportunity for banks to earn a profit.

“Countless individuals and companies around the world rely on these rates to settle financial contracts, and this reliance is premised on faith in the fundamental integrity of these benchmarks.

“The market only works if people have confidence that the process of setting these benchmarks is fair, not corrupted by manipulation by some of the biggest banks in the world.”.. see more

source: usatoday