A settlement between US and British authorities over rigging of currency markets could lead to five of the world’s biggest banks being slapped with penalties totaling $5bn.
The banks are also expected to be slammed with criminal charges due to their involvement in forex manipulation.
It is being speculated that the US banks JPMorgan and Citigroup and Britain’s Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland will plead guilty to the criminal charges with the US Department of Justice (DoJ), as reported by Reuters.
Barclays might be planning a settlement with British and US regulators which mean its penalties might be significantly higher.
New York’s banking regulator Benjamin Lawsky was quoted by Reuters as saying that if evidence was found, individuals at Barclays could also be held accountable.
Swiss bank UBS, however, might be able to avoid a criminal charge as it had alerted authorities about a possible problem. However, it is still accused of rigging benchmark interest rates and might have to pay a fine of $200m.
UBS’ immunity to criminal charges is the result of a 2012 agreement with DoJ to not commit more offences.
In case they plead guilty to the criminal charges, JPMorgan and Citigroup would be the first major US banks to do so in decades.
The banks are currently asking US regulators for assurances that they will not be barred from some businesses after pleading guilty.
Image: Barclays along with JPMorgan, Citigroup, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS have been charged with forex rigging. Photo: courtesy of C Ford.