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Credit Suisse hit with extra EU antitrust charges in forex probe

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen at a branch office in Bern, Switzerland October 28, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) -Credit Suisse has been hit with additional European Union antitrust charges, it said on Monday, three years after EU enforcers charged the Swiss bank with rigging foreign exchange rates in an almost decade-long case.

The financial sector has been in the EU antitrust crosshairs for nearly a decade for rigging key interest benchmarks, government bonds and foreign exchange rates, resulting in billions of euros in fines imposed on various banks.

The European Commission had in July 2018 sent a charge sheet known as a statement of objections to Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank. Five years before that, the EU executive had indicated an investigation in this area.

Statement of objections typically set out anti-competitive activities uncovered by regulators which could lead to fines as much as 10% of a company’s global turnover.

Credit Suisse on Monday confirmed receipt of a supplemental statement of objections.

“Credit Suisse continues to believe that it did not engage in any systemic conduct in the FX markets which violated the European Union’s competition rules, and is contesting the EC’s case,” the bank said in a statement.

The Commission, which sent the document last week, said it continues investigating past conduct in the foreign exchange spot trading market.

In May 2019, the EU competition enforcer slapped a total 1.07 billion-euro fine on Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Citigroup, JPMorgan and MUFG Bank for rigging foreign exchange spot trading.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee in Brussels and Michael Shields in Zurich; editing by Louise Heavens and Jonathan Oatis