Switzerland fines banks for cartels on rates, derivatives

The Swiss competition authority Comco has entered into settlements with several big banks over cartels that distorted the trading of financial derivatives based on common interest rate benchmarks.

Comco said Wednesday that in the largest settlement it levied fines of 45.3 million Swiss francs ($43.9 million): 29.7 million against Barclays, 12.3 million against RBS, and 3.2 million against Societe General.

Deutsche Bank took part but was not fined due to its cooperation with the authorities in the investigation.

Comco said the cartel aimed at distorting normal pricing for financial instruments based on euro interest rates and that bankers discussed their submissions used to calculate the Euribor interest rate benchmark.

Other settlements were reached with varying groups of banks over cartels related to derivatives and benchmarks in Swiss francs and yen.