Risk & Compliance

Citibank Fined $425M in Rate-Rigging Cases

U.S. regulators allege Citi manipulated key swaps and interest rate benchmark to benefits its own trading positions.
Katie Kuehner-HebertMay 25, 2016

Citibank has agreed to pay $425 million to settle charges that it manipulated financial benchmarks to benefit its derivatives trading positions.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Wednesday announced the settlements of two overlapping rate-rigging cases against Citi — one involving the the ISDAfix benchmark swaps rate, which is used to settle interest rate swaps, and the other relating to the Yen Libor and Euroyen Tibor interest rate benchmark.

Citi is the first U.S. bank to settle criminal or civil claims tied to Libor rigging. The Justice Department confirmed Wednesday it had closed its investigation into Citi and some of the other banks suspected of manipulating the ISDAfix rate.

Under the terms of the settlements, Citi will pay $175 million related to Libor and Tibor and $250 million related to ISDAfix.

“The CFTC remains steadfast in its commitment to ensure the integrity of global benchmarks that are critical to the U.S. and international financial markets,” Aitan Goelman, the agency’s head of enforcement, said in a news release.

“As evident by today’s actions, the CFTC’s vigilance includes holding a financial institution, like Citi, responsible each time it acts to undermine a benchmark for its personal profit or benefit,” he added.

As The New York Times reports, the cases “join a long list of actions against banks suspected of manipulating benchmark interest rates and currencies.” Last year, the CFTC and the Justice Department announced civil and criminal charges against four of the world’s biggest banks, including Citi, for a scheme to manipulate the value of the world’s currencies.

All told, banks have paid more than $15 billion in penalties, with Citibank alone agreeing to pay $735 million. Citi is the second bank after Barclays to resolve claims related to the ISDAfix benchmark.

“These settlements represent a significant step for Citi in resolving its legacy benchmark rate investigations,” the bank said in a news release. “In addition to adopting industry-wide reforms related to participation in benchmark rates, Citi has made substantial investments in its systems, controls and monitoring processes to better guard against inappropriate behavior.”

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