September 24, 2019 / 8:04 AM / 5 months ago

HSBC gets partial satisfaction in court fight against 33.6 mln euro EU Euribor cartel fine

LUXEMBOURG, Sept 24 (Reuters) - HSBC on Tuesday got partial satisfaction in its fight against a 33.6 million euro ($36.9 million) fine levied by EU antitrust regulators three years ago for rigging the Euribor financial benchmark together with six other banks.

The General Court, Europe's second highest, agreed with the EU's competition watchdog that HSBC infringed the law but annulled the fine over insufficient reasoning.

HSBC, Credit Agricole and JPMorgan were penalised 485 million euros by the European Commission in 2016. All three had denied wrongdoing and challenged the decision. HSBC's fine was the smallest as it took part in the cartel for just a month.

The European Commission, the bloc's competition enforcer has said the trio were part of a seven-bank cartel that colluded between September 2005 and May 2008 to manipulate the Euribor interest rate, which is set using quotes from a panel of banks and is widely used in international money markets.

The Commission said traders at the banks exchanged information on their trading positions and pricing strategies via chatrooms or messaging services.

The other three, Deutsche Bank, RBS and Societe Generale admitted wrongdoing three years ago in return for lower fines. Barclays escaped a fine because it alerted the cartel to the Commission.

The case is T-105/17 HSBC Holdings v Commission. ($1 = 0.9116 euros) (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, Editing by Gabriela Baczynska)

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