After five years of investigation, the European Commission has hit three banks with €485.5 million of fines for participating in a scheme to rig the Euribor benchmark. J.P. Morgan was issued the largest slice of €337.2 million.
Seven banks were originally accused of breaching EU anti-trust rules by colluding to alter benchmark rates to suit their own positions. The group were referred to as an "anti-competitive cartel", using chatrooms and videos to share sensitive information amongst themselves, allowing them to effect tiny movements in the key pricing components of interest rate derivatives.
The fines issued were calculated in consideration of the amount of time spent partaking in the scheme, and the value of the products concerned.
In 2013, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank and Société Générale were awarded a 10% discount on their fines for settling the Euribor case. Barclays avoided the fine altogether by bringing the conspiracy to the attention of the EU. The total settlement amount amassed €820 million.
Spokespeople for the three banks opting not to settle indicated that they would continue to bring possible appeals, maintaining that no laws were infringed.