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6/9/15

Banking industry: € 4.97B In Fines Against Major Banks Seems Like A Lot. Here's Why It Won't Deter Corporate Crime. - by Michael Bobelian

On April 11, 2002, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a record-breaking settlement with Xerox stemming from the company’s alleged accounting fraud stretching back a number of years. “Such conduct calls for stiff sanctions,” announced Paul Berger, then the commission’s Associate Director of Enforcement, “including, in this case, the imposition of the largest fine ever obtained by the SEC against a public company in a financial fraud case.”

The fine, which the SEC dubbed as “unprecedented” at the time, totaled $10 million.

The € 4.97 billion settlement announced earlier today for charges related to the manipulation of currency exchanges makes the Xerox settlement seem pedestrian by comparison. The five banks included in the deal – Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and UBS – settled claims with various American and British enforcement bodies and all but UBS will plead guilty to criminal charges.

“The penalty all these banks will now pay is fitting considering the long-running and egregious nature of their anticompetitive conduct,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “It is commensurate with the pervasive harm done.”

The question remains whether these "outsized" penalties will actually deter corporations from further wrongdoing or do they merely represent the cost of doing business for companies with tens of billions in annual revenues.

€ 4.97B In Fines Against Major Banks Seems Like A Lot. Here's Why It Won't Deter Corporate Crime. - Forbes

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