LONDON, June 5 (Reuters) - The European Commission is busy analysing information on alleged collusion in the foreign exchange market, but no outcome on this case or another involving Swiss benchmark rates is expected for at least several weeks, a senior EU official said on Thursday.
The European Union executive’s competition commissioner, Joaquin Almunia said last December he was investigating collusion allegations into interest rate benchmarks linked to the Swiss franc and in the foreign exchange market.
Almunia told Reuters on Thursday he was still working on the Swiss and forex cases and downplayed talk of any immediate outcome.
“There is a lot of information and we are digging into the information and analysing it and discussing it,” Almunia said in relation to the foreign exchange market.
Asked when there may be an outcome on either of the two issues, Almunia replied: “This week or next week or another week, you can be quiet as we will not launch any kind of new initiatives on these two issues.”
A lot of attention is focused on Almunia’s latest investigation after he fined six financial institutions a record 1.7 billion euros ($2.32 billion) in December for manipulating Libor and Euribor, two interest rate benchmarks widely used to help to price trillions of dollars of financial products.
Regulators from a number countries are looking into possible rigging of foreign exchange markets. Germany’s financial watchdog has found clear evidence that market participants attempted to manipulate reference currency rates.
Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said on Thursday it is examining information related to a global investigation into the possible manipulation of currency markets, although it has yet to open a criminal investigation.
Almunia is due to step down when a new European Commission takes up the reins in November. He declined to say if he would leave it up to his successor to decide on the two investigations.
“It depends. If the work is ready,” Almunia said. ($1 = 0.7341 Euros) (Reporting by Huw Jones. Editing by Jane Merriman)