EU: Rate-rigging investigations in advanced stages

10530873-european-union-logoAn European Union antitrust official said on Thursday that investigations into illegal rate-rigging are in advanced stages, dispelling previous statements that the probes could take some time.

The European Commission has been investigating rate-rigging scandals related to the Japanese yen and Swiss franc for the past 18 months, but up until recently, banking sources have indicated that the investigations were in preliminary stages. The rates are used to price trillions of dollars’ worth of financial derivatives, Fox Business reports.

“These cases are in an advanced stage,” Eric van Ginderachter, the director of cartels at the EC, said, according to Fox Business.

Sources told Reuters last month that EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia has been pushing to issue decisions on the investigations by the end of the year. Banks found guilty of rate-rigging could face EU fines of up to 10 percent of their global revenues.

U.K. and U.S. regulators have fined three banks, including RBS, Barclays and UBS, a total of $2.6 billion for their participation in the manipulation of Libor rates, Fox Business reports.

Barclays, HSBC, RBS and SocGen have said that they are cooperating with EU investigations, and Rabobank said that EU regulators have requested information from the bank.

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