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November 14, 2014

Banks fined billions for rigging currency markets

“The U.S. Justice Department is conducting its own criminal investigation of foreign-exchange rate setting. And the Federal Reserve confirmed Wednesday it has a probe underway in coordination with Justice and other agencies. Additional penalties are possible.

“Criminal charges against individual bank executives couldn’t come soon enough for some consumer advocates and critics of the financial industry.

“Banks do not commit crimes; bankers, executives, supervisors and traders do,” Dennis Kelleher, president of Better Markets, a group that advocates strict regulation, said in a statement. “Yet not one single executive is being punished individually and none of the banks even have to admit wrongdoing or disclose the details of their misconduct.”

“The foreign-exchange scandal is the latest black eye for the industry. Five banks have been sanctioned for alleged manipulation of LIBOR, in a continuing investigation. The banks together have paid nearly $4 billion in settlements, and several individuals have been criminally charged.

“LIBOR is an interest rate that affects trillions of dollars in contracts around the world, including mortgages and consumer loans.

“Major Wall Street banks including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup have each paid billions of dollars in settlements with U.S. agencies over their role in selling the toxic mortgage securities that fueled the worst financial crisis since the 1930s and threw millions of homes into foreclosure.”


Read the full Associated Press article by Danica Kirka and Marcy Gordon here.

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