Five banks have been fined €1bn by the European Commission after ‘Essex Express’ and ‘Banana Split’ cartels were discovered to be working together in secret online chatrooms to rig the exchange markets.
Four banks in the ‘Banana Split’ cartel included Barclays, RBS, Citigroup and JP Morgan were fined in total €811m. Barclays and RBS along with MUFG Bank received a further fine of €258m.
The European Commission also revealed that traders from Barclays, RBS and MUFG Bank devised stategies to rig markets after meeting on the train to the City from Essex.
Over the course of six years between 2007 and 2013, the traders exchanged sensitive information and trading plans through the chatrooms to give them an advantage when making market decisions as they bought and sold currencies, the commission added.
Swiss bank UBS was the first to disclose the misconduct and as a result escaped a fine.