August 29, 2018 / 6:02 PM / 25 days ago

U.S. CFTC orders BNP Paribas to pay $90 million penalty for rate-rigging

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. federal regulators on Wednesday ordered BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) to pay a $90 million civil penalty after settling charges against BNP Paribas Securities Corp [BNPPSS.UL] for attempted manipulation of the ISDAfix benchmark.

A BNP Paribas logo is seen outside a bank office in Paris, France, August 6, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

Companies and investors use ISDAfix to price swaps transactions, commercial real estate mortgages and structured debt securities.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission order found that BNP Paribas attempted to manipulate the benchmark to benefit its derivatives positions in instruments and that the conduct involved multiple traders and included supervisors, it said in a statement.

From 2007 to 2012, the CFTC said the bank attempted to manipulate the benchmark rate by deliberately trading to move it in a direction at the precise time it was being set. The CFTC also said the bank submitted false pricing reports to further sway the benchmark in a profitable direction.

“We accept the fine of $90m imposed by the CFTC and are pleased to have resolved this investigation regarding past conduct,” the bank said in a statement.

The CFTC said in its statement the bank cooperated with its investigation and pursued “significant remedial action” to address issues with its internal controls.

The BNP settlement is the latest in a series of settlements large banks have struck with regulators over the rigging of market benchmarks. The CFTC said Wednesday’s settlement with BNP was its seventh enforcement action relating to the U.S. dollar ISDAfix alone.

“We won’t stop until all wrongdoers are held accountable — no matter how broadly the misconduct stretches across the industry,” said James McDonald, the CFTC’s director of enforcement, in a statement.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu, Pete Schroeder and Inti Landauro; Editing by G Crosse, Cynthia Osterman and Richard Chang

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