Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

JPMorgan Heads to Court as Euribor Trio Fights $514 Million Fine

  • HSBC, Credit Agricole also lodged appeals at EU General Court
  • Three banks were fined by EU for rigging Euribor benchmark

JPMorgan Chase & Co., HSBC Holdings Plc and Credit Agricole SA formally challenged  European Union fines totaling 485.5 million euros ($514 million) for rigging the Euribor benchmark.

The trio filed appeals at the EU General Court, according to the Luxembourg-based EU court’s press office.

The commission said last year that the trio colluded to rig the Euribor rate and exchanged sensitive information to suit their trading positions in correlated derivatives markets, in breach of EU antitrust rules. JPMorgan was fined 337.2 million euros, HSBC got a 33.6 million-euro penalty and Credit Agricole was forced to pay 114.7 million euros.

The EU’s investigation into Euribor manipulation was strained three years ago after Credit Agricole, JPMorgan and HSBC refused to join a multi-bank settlement with four other lenders including Deutsche Bank AG and Societe Generale SA. Since then, the holdouts have been a thorn in the commission’s side -- successfully delaying the process and showing up the regulator for its handling of the case.

HSBC “maintains it was not part of an anti-competitive Euribor cartel and is therefore appealing the European Commission’s decision,” bank said in e-mailed statement.

Credit Agricole declined to comment and referred to its December statement stating it “firmly believes that it did not infringe competition law” and would appeal the commission’s decision. Officials at JPMorgan weren’t immediately available to comment.

The commission said it “will defend its decision in court.”

The four banks that settled the Euribor case were accused of sharing, via phone and through online chats, sensitive trading information among themselves and strategizing to push benchmark rates up or down to suit their trading positions.

— With assistance by Aoife White, and Fabio Benedetti Valentini

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