JPMorgan Fined $65 Million for Trying to Rig Benchmark Rate

(Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to pay $65 million to settle a U.S. regulator’s allegations that its traders attempted to manipulate a benchmark for interest-rate derivatives, making it the latest bank fined in a years-long investigation.

A JPMorgan swaps trader tried to “muscle” what’s known as ISDAfix, which helps determine the value of trillions of dollars of derivatives, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a Monday statement. Among traders, it was common knowledge that they could move prices with some openly joking about it, according to the regulator.

“This matter is one in a series of CFTC actions that clearly demonstrates the commission’s unrelenting commitment to root out manipulation from our markets and to protect those who rely on the integrity of critical financial benchmarks,” James McDonald, the CFTC’s head of enforcement, said in the statement.

JPMorgan, which didn’t admit or deny the regulator’s findings that its traders sought to rig ISDAfix from 2007 through 2012, joins Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc., Barclays Plc and other lenders in paying fines. JPMorgan’s penalty is about a quarter of the $250 million that Citigroup agreed to pay in May 2016.

“We’re please to have this matter behind us,” Jessica Francisco, a JPMorgan spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement.

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