UBS pays $545 million to settle more market rigging claims

UBS will pay more than half a billion dollars to U.S. authorities in fines and settlements related to its role in rigging financial markets.

The Swiss bank said Wednesday it would pay $342 million to settle claims related to attempts to manipulate the global foreign currency market, plus a fine of $203 million for rigging benchmark interest rates.

Along with UBS, global banks including Citibank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, RBS and Bank of America have so far paid at least $4.6 billion to authorities in the U.S. and Europe for their part in the foreign exchange scandal.

More banks are expected to reveal settlements with U.S. authorities late on Wednesday.

UBS admitted it had engaged in “unsafe and unsound business practices” in foreign exchange markets, and pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in relation to the London Interbank borrowing rate, or Libor.

The bank had originally struck a deal over Libor with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2012, but the non-prosecution agreement was terminated after its role in the foreign exchange scandal came to light.

“The conduct of a small number of employees was unacceptable and we have taken appropriate disciplinary actions,” UBS chairman Axel Weber said in a statement.

UBS said it faces no criminal charges related to the currency market manipulation.

But it’s already racked up a hefty bill for market misconduct. Over the past year it has agreed to pay $1.1 billion to authorities in the U.S. and Europe for dodgy dealing in foreign exchange. That’s on top of around $1.7 billion in penalties since 2012 related to the Libor probe.

Some $5 trillion is traded in the global currency market each day, much of it in London. Foreign exchange rates affect the price of imported goods, company earnings and many investments held by pension funds and others.

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