Banks Snitching on FX Competitors

Financial institutions are said to be racing to share evidence of FX price fixing with EU regulators, in exchange for immunity.

Banks are racing to betray their competitors to avoid possible European Union (EU) fines for rigging foreign-exchange markets, according to a person with knowledge of the EU’s preliminary investigation.

Lenders are vying to emulate UBS AG and Barclays Plc, which dodged penalties of about 3.2 billion euros ($4.4 billion) for blowing the whistle on manipulation of interest-rate benchmarks, said the person who asked not to be named because the EU process is private. More banks have volunteered information on currency markets than for the probes into Libor and Euribor rigging, the person said.

Jeffrey French, a Citigroup spokesman, declined to comment, as did Deutsche Bank’s Sebastian Howell, Barclays’s Aurelie Leonard, HSBC’s Jezz Farr, and JPMorgan’s Jennifer Zuccarelli. Spokesmen for UBS in London and for Goldman Sachs in New York also declined to comment.

While Almunia has said the Brussels-based European Commission is analyzing information on FX, he hasn’t said he’ll open a formal probe, the first step toward possible fines. Antoine Colombani, his spokesman, declined to comment further.122013_Bloomberg story_PQ1

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