Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and six other banks are being officially investigated over alleged rigging of foreign exchange rates, the Swiss Competition Commission announced today.
The regulator said it is also investigating UBS, Credit Suisse, Zürcher Kantonalbank, Julius Baer, JPMorgan and Citigroup. “Evidence exists that these banks colluded to manipulate exchange rates in foreign currency trades,” it said.
More than a dozen regulators globally are probing alleged manipulation of key benchmarks used in the currency market. More than 20 traders have been either suspended or put on leave by banks.
The Swiss watchdog, which opened a preliminary investigation in October, today said that from what it had learned so far, it assumed the most important foreign exchange rates were affected.
Credit Suisse said it was “astonished” to be drawn into the probe. “Credit Suisse was not the subject of the preliminary investigation,” the bank said. “The press release contains incorrect references to Credit Suisse [which] are both inappropriate and harmful to our reputation.”
The regulators’ investigations centre on whether traders from different banks colluded to the detriment of their clients’ forex trades before and during the 60-second window in which benchmarks for currencies are set.