Banca IMI Securities Corp pleads guilty to antitrust charge: U.S. Justice Department

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Banca IMI Securities Corp has pleaded guilty to an antitrust charge and was sentenced to a pay a criminal fine of more than $2 million for its involvement in a conspiracy to rig bids for pre-release American Depository Receipts (ADRs), the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement on Friday.

It said the New York-based broker-dealer, which is indirectly controlled by Banca IMI, admitted that it engaged in the conspiracy with other institutions and individuals between March 2012 and at least August 2014.

The broker pleaded guilty to conspiring to borrow pre-release ADRs from U.S. depository banks at artificially suppressed rates, the statement said.

“On at least 30 occasions, Banca IMI reached an agreement with one or more co-conspirators as to the bids they would submit to U.S. depository banks. On many occasions, the conspirators agreed that they all would submit the same bid,” it added.

Reporting by Mohammad Zargham