July 31, 2018 / 8:34 PM / 15 days ago

Credit Suisse charged with rigging foreign exchange rates

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Credit Suisse has been charged by European Union antitrust regulators with rigging foreign exchange rates, the Swiss bank said on Tuesday, a sign that the five-year long EU investigation may reach a conclusion in the coming months.

FILE PHOTO: Switzerland's national flag flies next to the logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse at a branch office in Luzern, Switzerland October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

Credit Suisse said in its quarterly report it received notification from the European Commission on July 26 alleging that it “engaged in anticompetitive practices in connection with its foreign exchange trading business”.

EU enforcers typically lay out charges of illegal activities conducted by companies before imposing fines which can reach 10 percent of their global turnover. 

The Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A number of banks are under investigation on suspicion of manipulating foreign exchange rates, with several ready to admit wrongdoing in exchange for a cut in their fines, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. They did not name the companies. 

In a regulatory filing last year, HSBC said it was under EU investigation related to its foreign exchange activities.

BNP Paribas has also received a questionnaire from the Commission on possible collusion among financial institutions to manipulate certain benchmark currency exchange rates, according to a 2017 regulatory filing. 

Other banks have confirmed investigations by various competition agencies without naming them. 

The Commission in recent years handed down hefty fines to several banks for rigging benchmark interest rates. 

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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