Credit Suisse Gets Extra EU Charge Sheet in FX Rigging Probe

Credit Suisse Group AG received an extra antitrust charge sheet from the European Commission, signaling more potential delays in a drawn-out probe into the lender’s suspected involvement in manipulation of foreign-exchange markets.

The EU and the Zurich-based bank confirmed the so-called supplementary statement of objections, which adds to earlier charges sent in July 2018 based on information swapped in currency traders’ chatrooms. Credit Suisse denies wrongdoing and is fighting allegations that other banks have agreed to settle.

“Credit Suisse continues to believe that it did not engage in any systemic conduct in the FX markets which violated the European Union’s competition rules,” the bank said in a statement.

The commission said it sent the objections as it “continues investigating past conduct in the forex spot trading market.” It declined to provide further details while the case is ongoing.

EU regulators are still investigating Credit Suisse and potential collusion with other banks, years after other authorities meted out billions of dollars in fines in similar probes. The EU’s probe dates back to 2013 and follows a Bloomberg report that uncovered traders’ manipulation of benchmark foreign-exchange rates. A first set of banks, including Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., agreed to pay EU penalties of more than $1 billion in 2019.

Regulators pushed on with a parallel probe into similar allegations involving Credit Suisse and other banks that aren’t challenging the EU. Such a “hybrid cartel” means officials need to make legal findings against all participants in a cartel at the same time -- even if some are prepared to settle in return for a lower fine and shorter process.

Credit Suisse also challenged a 2018 information request in a probe by Switzerland’s Competition Commission into possible currency manipulation, the only bank to do so. The lender was ordered to hand over data that year after it lost a court ruling in which it had argued that doing so would violate a rule preventing self-incrimination.

Patrik Ducrey, director of Comco, said by telephone that the Swiss probe is “well-advanced” and if progress continues, they hope to wrap it up later this year.

EU officials are separately probing banks over suspected cartels for euro-bond trading and supranational, sub-sovereign and agency debt securities trading.

AWP reported the news on the objections earlier.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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