| LONDON, June 30
LONDON, June 30 Europe's antitrust chief said on
Monday that he aimed to wrap up the remaining interest rate
rigging cases against HSBC, JPMorgan, Credit
Agricole and brokerage ICAP before he leaves
office in October.
In May, the European Commission charged HSBC - Europe's
biggest bank - alongside U.S. peer JPMorgan and France's Credit
Agricole with rigging benchmark interest rates linked to the
euro, five months after handing down a record 1.7-billion-euro
fine against six other financial institutions for Euribor and
The European Union competition watchdog also issued charges
against ICAP early this month for suspected manipulation of the
London Interbank Offered Rate - known as Libor - set for the
Libor rates are the average interest rates estimated by
leading banks in London that they would be charged if borrowing
five main currencies from other banks. Libor and Euribor - the
Euro Interbank Offered Rate, published by the European Banking
Federation - are central cogs in the global financial system and
are used to help price loans and swaps worldwide.
Unlike the other financial firms, which included Deutsche
Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Citigroup
, HSBC, JPMorgan, Credit Agricole and ICAP refused to
settle the case in December last year, which would have earned
them a 10 percent cut in fines. Sanctions can reach up to 10
percent of a company's turnover if it is found guilty of
breaching EU rules.
European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he
may be able to decide on the remaining cases towards the end of
"Probably before the end of the mandate of this commission,
there will be some news," Almunia told a Chatham House
conference. The current Commission's mandate ends on October 31.
The EU probes are part of a global investigation.
Authorities around the world have already fined 10 banks and
brokerages $6.0 billion and charged 16 people.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Sophie Walker)