In the wake of Wednesday’s announcement that five global financial institutions have agreed to plead guilty to multiple crimes and pay about $5.6 billion in penalties for manipulating foreign currencies and interest rates, corporate watchdogs are reiterating the call to ‘break up the banks’ in light of their ongoing malfeasance.
As with other recent settlements, Wednesday’s news provides further evidence to those who say certain megabanks are still considered “too big to fail”—or criminal bankers to jail.
“There are two messages in today’s plea deal,” said Public Citizen president Robert Weissman in a statement on Wednesday. “First, criminality is rampant on Wall Street. Second, the era of too-big-to-jail is alive and well. Even as they beat their chests announcing how tough they are, government regulators refuse to apply to the giant banks the same rules that apply to everyone else.”
According to the Wall Street Journal:
Five global banks have agreed to pay more than $5 billion in combined penalties and will plead guilty to criminal charges to resolve a long running U.S. investigation into whether traders at the banks colluded to move foreign currency rates in directions to benefit their own positions.
Four of the banks, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Barclays PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland GroupPLC, and Citigroup Inc., will plead guilty to conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros, authorities said.
The fifth bank, UBS AG,
received immunity in the antitrust case
, but will plead guilty to manipulating the Libor benchmark after prosecutors said the bank violated an earlier accord meant to resolve those allegations of misconduct. UBS will also pay an additional Libor-related fine.