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From Antitrust Law Daily, December 20, 2018

EC investigates banks for allegedly manipulating government-backed bond market

By Stephanie K. Mann, J.D.

The European Commission (EC) suspects Deutsche Bank AG, Credit Suisse Group AG, and two other global banks of colluding to manipulate a multi-trillion-dollar government-backed bond market, escalating a long running probe into collusion of the secondary market trading in the European Economic Area (EEA) of supra-sovereign, sovereign and agency (SSA) bonds denominated in U.S. dollars.

According to the EC’s press release, the banks attempted to distort competition from 2009 to 2015 by exchanging commercially sensitive information and coordinated on prices for SSA bonds through a series of online chatrooms. If the preliminary findings contained in the Statement of Objection are confirmed, the banks would be in violation of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement.

The four banks are allowed to examine the documents in the EC’s investigation file, reply in writing, and request an oral hearing to present their defense to the EC and national competition authorities. If the EC concludes that there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate a violation, it can adopt a decision prohibiting the conduct and imposing a fine of up to 10 percent of a company’s annual worldwide turnover. The progress of the case (AT.40346) can be viewed on the Commission’s competition website in the public case register.

Companies: Credit Suisse Group AG; Deutsche Bank AG

MainStory: TopStory Antitrust

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