Switzerland moving forward with forex investigation into eight banks

Switzerland’s competition commission has launched an investigation into eight domestic and international banks

The worldwide forex rigging saga marches on…Switzerland’s competition commission Wettbewerbskommission known by the German-language acronym (WEKO) said on Monday it had opened an investigation into several Swiss, British and U.S. banks over potential collusion to manipulate foreign exchange rates. A preliminary investigation, which opened last October, has gathered information so far that now suggests that the most important exchange rates were affected, said the Competition Commission.

WEKO said it is investigating the following eight banks:

  1. UBS (Largest Swiss Bank)
  2. Credit Suisse (Swiss)
  3. Zuercher Kantonalbank (Swiss)
  4. Julius Baer (Swiss)
  5. JP Morgan
  6. Citigroup
  7. Barclays
  8. Royal Bank of Scotland

WEKO Director Rafael Corazza said WEKO was in touch with some international authorities but had not been prompted by a foreign authority to open the investigation. None of the mentioned banks said they were forewarned about the new probes.

“We have to conduct the investigation ourselves. There’s no legal basis at the moment to exchange data directly with foreign authorities,” he told Reuters.

WEKO Vice Director Olivier Schaller said the WEKO investigation would certainly take months and could result in fines of up to 10 percent of the turnover generated in the relevant market in Switzerland over the last three years. It is too early to tell what kind of new regulations that may be on tap and the complete fallout that will arise if there indeed proves to be real wrong doing.

Authorities in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia, and New Zealand are probing both potential antitrust as well as criminal breaches such as fraud in the sprawling investigations.

For more on the global Forex industry see the LeapRate-Dow Jones Forex Industry Report.


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