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BNP Paribas pleads guilty in US to currency rigging, fined US$90m
[NEW YORK] A unit of BNP Paribas agreed to plead guilty and pay a US$90 million criminal fine in the United States for conspiring to rig foreign currency markets, the US Department of Justice said on Friday.
BNP Paribas USA admitted to having conspired to fix prices for Central and Eastern European, Middle Eastern and African currencies from September 2011 to July 2013, violating US antitrust law.
The Justice Department said the conspiracy involved price manipulation on an electronic trading platform through the creation of bogus trades, coordinated trading, and agreements on what prices to quote to specific customers, among other means.
The French bank issued a statement saying: "BNP Paribas USA deeply regrets the past misconduct that led to this settlement, which was a clear breach of the high standards on which it operates." BNP Paribas is the sixth major bank to plead guilty in a continuing currency investigation and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors conducting it.
The Justice Department said the bank will not be put on probation, given its efforts to improve oversight and avoid a recurrence.