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July 1, 2013

EU Accuses 13 Banks of Hampering CDS Competition

Thirteen of the world’s biggest investment banks were accused by the European Union of colluding to curb competition in the $10 trillion credit derivatives industry.

The EU sent a complaint, or statement of objections, to 13 banks, data provider Markit Group Ltd. and the International Swaps & Derivatives Association over allegations they sought “to prevent exchanges from entering the credit derivatives business between 2006 and 2009,” the European Commission said.

The probe is one of several by the Brussels-based commission into the financial industry, including whether banks colluded to manipulate U.K. and European benchmark interest rates.Joaquin Almunia, the EU antitrust chief, said he’s seeking to settle the probes into Libor and Euribor with some of the same banks in the CDS case by the end of the year.

The EU in April 2011 opened a probe into whether banks colluded by giving market information to Markit, a data provider majority-owned by Wall Street’s largest banks. Earlier this year, the EU extended its investigation to include ISDA, having found indications that it “may have been involved in a coordinated effort of investment banks to delay or prevent exchanges” from entering the credit swaps business.”

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Read full Bloomberg article here

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