HSBC to pay over $100M to settle currency rigging probe

LONDON/NEW YORK (UPI) — Europe’s biggest bank has agreed to pay about $100 million in penalties to resolve a U.S. Justice Department investigation.

The deal stems from a probe into HSBC Holdings PLC rigging currency rates, an investigation that led to the conviction of one of its former bankers.

The scheme, which involved bankers executing trades that drove up costs for two large corporate clients, netted the bank more than $46 million in profits in 2010 and 2011.

John Cronan, acting assistant attorney general at the U.S. Justice Department, said the bank misused confidential client information for its own profit on more than one occasion.

“This sort of misconduct not only harmed their clients, costing the victims money, but it also ran a serious risk of undermining the public’s confidence in our financial markets,” Cronan said. “The Department of Justice takes these types of cases seriously and will hold to account financial institutions and individuals that circumvent the rule of law in favor of illicit profits.”

HSBC agreed to a three-year deferred-prosecution agreement that includes helping with the criminal case against former traders and others involved in the matter. The agreement, filed in a federal court on Thursday, is pending review by a U.S. court.

The settlement is divided into a $63.1 million criminal penalty and $38.4 million in restitution to an unnamed corporate client. A separate settlement was paid to Cairn Energy for $8 million.

Other troubles the bank has seen recently includes a U.S. Federal Reserve fine of $175 million in September for unsound foreign exchange business practices. In November, the bank agreed to pay a $353 million settlement to French authorities over a tax evasion investigation.

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HSBC to pay over $100M to settle currency rigging probe