Banks fined £3.7bn for rigging foreign exchange markets

Five of the world’s largest banks are to pay fines totalling $5.7bn (£3.6bn) for charges including manipulating the foreign exchange market.

Four of the banks – JPMorgan, Barclays, Citigroup and RBS – have agreed to plead guilty to US criminal charges.

The fifth, UBS, will plead guilty to rigging benchmark interest rates.

Barclays was fined the most, £1.5bn, as it did not join other banks in November to settle investigations by UK, US and Swiss regulators.

Barclays is also sacking eight employees involved in the scheme.

The Rogue traders should be named and jailed, MPs said last night.

Despite manipulating exchange rates to inflate their bonuses and defraud clients, the crooks have escaped criminal punishment and their identities are being kept secret.

Barclays staff were still cheating last September – clear proof that banks have failed to clean up their act after a series of scandals.

Calling themselves the ‘cartel’ and the ‘three musketeers’, the rogue traders used internet chat rooms to plot their crooked deals.

One message from an employee at Barclays summed up their cavalier attitude: ‘If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.’

In a separate scam, staff ripped off clients by offering them poor prices on foreign currency and pocketing the difference.

The banks, which have been hit by billions of pounds of Libor fines in the last three years and admit they face further penalties for rigging other markets such as metals, faced a torrent of criticism.

“This sort of practice strikes at the heart of business ethics and is yet another blow to the integrity of the banks. Our pension funds invest billions of pounds in the financial markets and if they are being cheated in this way, it affects every one of us,” said Mark Taylor, dean of Warwick Business School and a former foreign exchange trader.

Antony Jenkins, Barclays’ chief executive, who took almost £5.5million in pay and perks last year said rate rigging was “wholly incompatible with Barclays’ purpose and values”.

“We deeply regret that it occurred.”

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