May 17, 2017 / 12:00 AM / a year ago

Seven banks focus of Mexico bond collusion probe: report

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Seven banks are at the center of a probe by Mexico’s antitrust regulator COFECE looking into possible collusion to manipulate bond prices, U.S. news agency Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing a person with knowledge of the matter.

The investigation is examining whether market makers that buy notes from the government and state-owned companies in primary auctions colluded to suppress prices, the report said.

Under scrutiny are local units of Banco Santander SA (SAN.MC), Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA) (BBVA.MC), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA.L), Barclays Plc (BARC.L), Citigroup Inc (C.N) and Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), according to the person, Bloomberg said, noting that none of the banks have been accused of wrongdoing.

COFECE, which announced the probe in April, declined to comment.

HSBC, Santander, BBVA and Bank of America declined to comment. The remaining banks did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Some of the banks have already received requests for information related to the investigation, which could also extend to other participants in both the primary and secondary bond markets, according to the report.

Reporting by Mexico City Newsroom; Editing by Richard Chang

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