Individual Accountability in the Financial Services Industry

Division Update Spring 2017

One of the most effective ways to combat corporate misconduct and deter cartel offenses is to hold individual executives accountable for their participation in criminal conspiracies. Thus, over the past year, the Division did not rest its investigation into collusion in the financial services industry at corporate, parent-level criminal pleas and record-breaking fines, but continued bringing cases against individuals.

Foreign Exchange Market

Foreign Exchange Market

Photo Credit: Trexdigital/iStock/Thinkstock

Over the past year, the Division’s investigation into manipulation of the foreign exchange market resulted in pleas from two foreign currency exchange traders for participating in a price-fixing conspiracy of Central and Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and African (CEEMA) currencies, and the indictment of three former traders for conspiring to manipulate the price of the U.S. dollar and euro exchanged in the foreign exchange spot market. Additionally, the Division’s joint investigation with the Criminal Division into the manipulation of LIBOR resulted in a plea from a former derivatives trader for conspiring to commit wire and bank fraud, and the indictment of two former traders for wire fraud and conspiring to commit wire and bank fraud.

From 2000 to 2009, the Division prosecuted more than twice as many individuals (453) as corporations (220). From 2010 to the present, the Division has prosecuted nearly three times as many individuals (426) as corporations (143). In the FX and LIBOR cases specifically, the Division, at times in conjunction with the Criminal Division, has prosecuted 21 individuals and 10 corporations.

Collusion in the financial services industry undermines the integrity of our financial markets. As Acting Assistant Attorney General Snyder recently noted, collusion in the financial markets “is no different than collusion regarding traditional products and services that the Antitrust Division routinely prosecutes.” In protecting American markets and American consumers, the Division holds not only corporations responsible, but also individuals.

Updated March 27, 2017