EU’s Antitrust Office Slow to Start FX Markets Rigging Investigation

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EU’s Antitrust Office Slow to Start FX Markets Rigging InvestigationThe European Union’s antitrust office is just starting out its investigation into the allegations of FX market manipulation at a time when other regulators in the U.K. and U.S. are closer to charging fines on offending parties.

“We are at the starting point of this investigation,” said EU Competition head Joaquin Almunia in an interview with Bloomberg. “It’s a very important case because the Forex markets every day exchange billions and billions of euros — but I cannot anticipate anything.”

In the interview, which happened almost a year after he disclosed that EU had started reviewing currency markets, Almunia said the EU’s antitrust agency had been furnished with information and contributions by individuals who warned it of probability of collusion.

The U.K. and U.S. investigations are almost at their conclusions, with fines for liable banks scheduled to be revealed as early as November, according to sources privy to the matter. The British Financial Conduct Authority is currently holding talks with lenders such as Barclays Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc, Citigroup Inc, and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, UBS AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co in order to review penalties that may be slapped as early as this month.

Unlike local financial watchdogs that concentrate on possibility of market abuse, such as rogue trading, EU antitrust regulators focus on determining whether companies colluded. As a matter of procedure, European Commission usually delays in levying fines behind other watchdogs.To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.

To contact the reporter of this story; Yashu Gola at yashu@forexminute.com