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更新时间:2015-5-22 9:40:09 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

5 Banks to Pay Billions and Plead Guilty in Currency and Interest Rate Cases

Adding another entry to Wall Street’s growing rap sheet, five big banks have agreed to pay about $5.6 billion and plead guilty to multiple crimes related to manipulating foreign currencies and interest rates, federal and state authorities announced on Wednesday.


The Justice Department forced four of the banks — Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland — to plead guilty to antitrust violations in the foreign exchange market as part of a scheme that padded the banks’ profits and enriched the traders who carried out the plot. The traders were supposed to be competitors, but much like companies that rigged the price of vitamins and automotive parts, they colluded to manipulate the largest and yet least regulated market in the financial world, where some $5 trillion changes hands every day, prosecutors said.

司法部强迫其中四家银行──花旗集团(Citigroup)、摩根大通(JPMorgan Chase)、巴克莱银行(Barclays)和苏格兰皇家银行(Royal Bank of Scotland)──承认在外汇市场违反了反垄断法,且违法活动是一个阴谋的一部分。这个阴谋为银行增加利润,让执行阴谋的交易员发了财。检方表示,这些交易员本应相互竞争,但他们却像操纵维生素和汽车零件价格的公司一样,在这个日交易额约5万亿美元的金融领域最大却最缺乏监管的市场,进行合谋操纵。

Underscoring the collusive nature of their contact, which often occurred in online chat rooms, one group of traders called themselves “the cartel,” an invitation-only club where stakes were so high that a newcomer was warned, “Mess this up and sleep with one eye open.”


To carry out the scheme, which went on nearly every day for five years through 2012, one trader would typically build a huge position in a currency and then unload it at a crucial moment, hoping to move prices. Traders at the other banks agreed to, as New York State’s financial regulator put it, “stay out of each other’s way.”


The banks also misled their clients about the price of currencies, the federal and state authorities said, imposing “hard mark-ups,” which one Barclays employee described as the “worst price I can put on this where the customers decision to trade with me or give me future business doesn’t change.” Or, to put their mission in the starkest of terms, the employee said: “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.”


A fifth bank, UBS, will also plead guilty on Wednesday to manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, a benchmark rate that underpins the cost of trillions of dollars in credit cards and other loans. Federal prosecutors had previously agreed not to prosecute the Swiss bank over the Libor scheme. But in a rare stand against corporate recidivism, the Justice Department voided that non-prosecution agreement after learning that UBS was also taking part in the effort to manipulate currency prices.

第五家银行瑞士联合银行集团(UBS)也在周三认罪,承认操纵伦敦银行同业拆借利率(London Interbank Offered Rate,简称Libor)。这个基准利率是数万亿信用卡消费及其他形式贷款的成本核算的基础。联邦检查官先前同意,不就Libor操纵阴谋起诉这家瑞士银行。但在得知UBS也参与了操纵外汇价格的活动后,司法部罕见地对企业累犯行为采取了行动,撤销不起诉协议。

The guilty pleas, which the banks are expected to enter in federal court in Connecticut on Wednesday, represent a first in a financial industry that has been dogged by numerous scandals and investigations since the 2008 financial crisis. Until now, banks have either had their biggest banking units or small subsidiaries plead guilty. But with the four banks charged with currency violations, the guilty pleas will come from their parent companies.


That result represents a victory for a Justice Department, which has faced criticism for going too soft on big banks, whose size and significance to the global economy had rendered them — in the minds of some regulators and politicians — too big to jail.


“Today’s historic resolutions are the latest in our ongoing efforts to investigate and prosecute financial crimes, and they serve as a stark reminder that this Department of Justice intends to vigorously prosecute all those who tilt the economic system in their favor; who subvert our marketplaces; and who enrich themselves at the expense of American consumers,” Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said on Wednesday.

“今天达成的历史性和解,是我们不断努力调查并起诉金融犯罪的最新成果,这明确显示司法部的决心,我们将大力追究任何为私利操纵经济系统的人;这些人在破坏我们的市场;并牺牲美国消费者的利益来为自己牟取财富,”美国司法部长洛蕾塔‧E‧林奇(Loretta E. Lynch)周三表示。

For the banks, though, life as a felon is likely to carry more symbolic shame than practical problems. Although they could be technically barred by American regulators from managing mutual funds or corporate pension plans or perform certain other securities activities, the banks have obtained waivers from the Securities and Exchange Commission that will allow them to conduct business as usual. In fact, the cases were not announced until after the S.E.C. had time to act.

但对于这些银行而言,被判犯有重罪带来的损害可能只是象征性的耻辱,并不构成实际的问题。虽然从严格意义上来说,美国监管机构会禁止这些银行管理共同基金、企业养老金计划或从事其他证券活动,但这些银行已经获得美国证券交易委员会(Securities and Exchange Commission,简称SEC)的豁免,可以照常开展业务。实际上,直到SEC有时间采取行动后,这些案件才对外公布。

And at least for now, the Justice Department did not indict any traders or sales employees whose errant instant messages underpin the criminal cases against the banks. The banks long ago dismissed most of the employees suspected of wrongdoing, though the New York State financial regulator, Benjamin M. Lawsky, forced Barclays to dismiss eight additional employees thought to be at the center of the scheme.

至少到目前为止,司法部尚未起诉任何交易员或销售人员。这些人员闲聊时发送的即时信息,在针对这些银行的刑事案件中充当了证据。这些银行早已解雇大部分涉嫌违法的雇员,但纽约州的金融监管官员本杰明·M·劳斯基(Benjamin M. Lawsk)仍迫使巴克莱银行解雇了另外八名据信参与阴谋的员工。

In addition to the criminal cases with the Justice Department, the banks each struck settlements with Mr. Lawsky as well as federal regulators. Barclays settled with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Reserve, the Financial Conduct Authority of London and Mr. Lawsky, paying a total sum of $2.4 billion.

除了司法部的案件之外,这些银行都与劳斯基及联邦监管机构达成了和解。巴克莱银行与美国商品期货交易委员会(Commodity Futures Trading Commission)、美联储(Federal Reserve)、伦敦金融市场行为监管局(Financial Conduct Authority)及劳斯基达成和解,支付总计24亿美元的罚款。

Citigroup paid the second-highest penalty, roughly $1.2 billion, including a $925 million antitrust penalty, the largest single fine ever imposed for a violation of the Sherman Act. JPMorgan paid roughly $900 million, and R.B.S. paid about $660 million.

花旗银行支付的罚金数额在五家银行排名第二,约为12亿美元,其中包括9.25亿美元的的反垄断罚款,这是有史以来因为违反《谢尔曼反托拉斯法》(Sherman Antitrust Act)而受到的最高额罚款。此外,摩根大通支付了大约9亿美元的罚款,苏格兰皇家银行则支付了6.6亿美元。

UBS agreed to pay more than $500 million, some of which was earmarked for the Libor crimes and the rest for currency manipulation. The bank, which was the first to cooperate in the currency case, was not criminally charged in that matter.


But the Justice Department tore up the bank’s earlier Libor nonprosecution agreement, saying that it took that unusual step because of the bank’s repeat offenses.


“UBS has a ‘rap sheet’ that cannot be ignored,” said Leslie R. Caldwell, head of the Justice Department’s criminal division.

司法部刑事部门负责人莱斯莉·R·考德威尔(Leslie R. Caldwell)表示,“瑞银有不容忽视的‘前科’。”

The punishments announced on Wednesday come in addition to the $4.25 billion that some of these same banks agreed pay in November to resolve foreign exchange investigations by a slew of regulators. And yet the penalties may still continue.


Mr. Lawsky has said that he is examining whether Barclays and other banks used electronic foreign exchange trading platforms to cheat their clients. The settlement announced on Wednesday did not release the bank from any future penalties.