On December 4, 2015, the European Commission issued a press release announcing that it has closed antitrust proceedings against all 13 investment banks it was investigating for their alleged involvement in anti-competitive behavior in the Credit Default Swaps market. The 13 banks in question are Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Bear Stearns, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS. The Commission alleged that the banks, together with Markit and the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, collectively blocked Deutsche Börse and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange from entering the CDS market to protect their revenues from OTC trading. According to the Commission’s preliminary findings, the banks instructed Markit and ISDA to license Deutsche Börse and CME only for OTC trading of CDS and not for exchange trading. The Commission concluded that the evidence collected from the parties, as well as additional documents obtained through further fact-finding and a hearing that took place in May 2014, was not sufficiently conclusive to confirm its concerns. The closure of the proceedings against the banks does not impact the Commission’s antitrust investigations in relation to Markit and ISDA, which are still on-going.
The press release is available at: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEX-15-6254_en.htm.