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US demands guilty plea in forex rigging deal: JPMorgan

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JPMorgan Chase said on Thursday that the US Justice Department will require the bank to plead guilty to settle charges it conspired with other banks to rig the foreign exchange market.

[NEW YORK] JPMorgan Chase said on Thursday that the US Justice Department will require the bank to plead guilty to settle charges it conspired with other banks to rig the foreign exchange market.

The bank's negotiations with the Justice Department and other regulators on the forex probe, "while not completed, are nearing conclusion," JPMorgan said in a securities filing.

"The Firm understands that any resolution acceptable to DOJ would require that the Firm plead guilty to an antitrust charge." JPMorgan, the largest US bank by assets, is one of five major banks that are expected to settle with US and British authorities next week for their role in rigging the massive foreign exchange market.

The other banks are Citigroup, British banks Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland, and UBS of Switzerland.

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An announcement had been expected this week, but was pushed back to finalize certain terms, a person familiar with the matter told AFP earlier this week.

The five banks face fines of up to US$1 billion, according to the degree of their involvement in the fraudulent activity.

The Justice Department has also been pushing for guilty pleas as part of the settlement. A guilty plea typically restricts a bank's operations in the US, but regulators have been working on waivers to ensure customers are not harmed, a person familiar with the matter said.

Citigroup said in a filing earlier this week that it could plead guilty to an antitrust violation as part of the foreign exchange settlement.

The sprawling forex probe has ensnared most large banks and centered on accusations traders conspired through instant messages and online chats to manipulate the market in ways that cheated clients and bolstered their own profits.

AFP

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