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HSBC fails to shake off Euribor cartel charge

By Foo Yun Chee and Kirstin Ridley BRUSSELS (Reuters) - HSBC on Thursday failed to overturn a court ruling that it had participated in a cartel to rig benchmark Euribor rates in...
HSBC fails to shake off Euribor cartel charge © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A logo of HSBC is seen on its headquarters at the financial Central district in Hong Kong, China August 4, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo
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By Foo Yun Chee and Kirstin Ridley

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - HSBC on Thursday failed to overturn a court ruling that it had participated in a cartel to rig benchmark Euribor rates in 2007, but Europe's top court confirmed that a 33.6 million euro ($36 million) fine had been scrapped.

The European Court of Justice, Europe's highest court, rejected HSBC's attempt to clear its name by challenging a 2019 lower court decision that it had colluded with others to try to manipulate key Euribor (euro interbank offered rate) rates.

"The Court of Justice upholds the annulment of the 33.6 million euro fine imposed on the HSBC Group," the Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice (CJEU) said, but added it "dismisses the HSBC companies' action challenging the finding that it participated in the cartel at issue".

An HSBC spokesperson declined to comment.

The European Commission, the bloc's executive body, ruled in 2016 that HSBC and six other banks had tried to distort Euribor, a benchmark for rates on financial products, fining the lender 33.6 million euros.

HSBC, penalised alongside JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Credit Agricole (OTC:CRARY), appealed against the decision. Three years later, a lower tribunal scrapped the fine because of insufficient reasoning, but dismissed the bank's attempt to shake off the ruling that it had taken part in a cartel.

The European Commission subsequently imposed a slightly lower fine of 31.7 million euros in 2021, which HSBC is separately challenging.

The Commission has said the trio was part of a cartel that colluded between September 2005 and May 2008 to try to rig Euribor interest rates - which provide a benchmark for rates on financial products such as interest rate swaps, futures, saving accounts and mortgages - to increase profit or reduce risk.

It said traders at seven banks were in regular contact and exchanged information on their trading positions and pricing strategies via chatrooms or messaging services.

HSBC has argued its role was peripheral - one former trader was involved in banks' attempts to manipulate Euribor over a six-week period in 2007 - and that the Commission's investigative procedure violated its rights of defence.

HSBC, JPMorgan and Credit Agricole opted against settling with European regulators and, following a full investigation, JPMorgan was fined 337.2 million euros and Credit Agricole was ordered to pay 114.7 million euros.

Both banks are also appealing. They declined to comment on Thursday.

Deutsche Bank (ETR:DBKGn), RBS (LON:NWG) and Societe Generale (OTC:SCGLY) admitted wrongdoing in return for much lower fines, while Barclays (LON:BARC) blew the whistle on the cartel and escaped a penalty.

EU, U.S. and British regulators have fined banks billions of euros for manipulating benchmark interest rates and the foreign exchange market.

    The case is C-883/19 P HSBC Holdings (NYSE:HSBC) and Others v Commission.

($1 = 0.9310 euros)

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    EUR/USD 1.0815 ↑ Buy  
    GBP/USD 1.2633 ↑ Sell  
    USD/JPY 149.95 ↑ Buy  
    AUD/USD 0.6568 Buy  
    USD/CAD 1.3512 ↑ Sell  
    EUR/JPY 162.19 ↑ Buy  
    EUR/CHF 0.9526 ↑ Buy  
    Gold 2,041.35 ↑ Sell  
    Silver 23.183 ↑ Sell  
    Copper 3.8697 ↑ Sell  
    Crude Oil WTI 77.28 Neutral  
    Brent Oil 82.63 Buy  
    Natural Gas 1.708 ↑ Buy  
    US Coffee C 188.03 ↑ Buy  
    Euro Stoxx 50 4,759.75 ↑ Sell  
    S&P 500 4,975.51 ↑ Buy  
    DAX 17,068.43 Sell  
    FTSE 100 7,719.21 ↑ Buy  
    Hang Seng 16,749.50 ↑ Buy  
    Small Cap 2000 2,003.65 ↑ Buy  
    IBEX 35 10,038.20 Sell  
    BASF 46.045 ↑ Sell  
    Bayer 28.77 Neutral  
    Allianz 249.40 Sell  
    Adidas 181.12 ↑ Buy  
    Lufthansa 7.339 ↑ Buy  
    Siemens AG 168.72 Neutral  
    Deutsche Bank AG 11.954 ↑ Sell  
Mua/Bán 1 chỉ SJC
# So hôm qua # Chênh TG
SJC Eximbank7,630/ 7,800
(80/ 50) # 1,763
SJC HCM7,630/ 7,850
(40/ 30) # 1,813
SJC Hanoi7,630/ 7,852
(40/ 30) # 1,815
SJC Danang7,630/ 7,852
(40/ 30) # 1,815
SJC Nhatrang7,630/ 7,852
(40/ 30) # 1,815
SJC Cantho7,630/ 7,852
(40/ 30) # 1,815
Cập nhật 21-02-2024 11:38:02
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