No Penalty for HSBC for now
Major UK Bank HSBC can avoid a penalty for participating in the interest rate cartel for now. The European Court of Justice on Thursday confirmed the annulment of a €33.6 million fine imposed by the EU Commission (Case C-883/19 P). This was not sufficiently justified. However, the European Court of Justice has also confirmed that HSBC is involved in the cartel in question.
In December 2016, the EU Commission decided that the three big banks, Credit Agricole, JPMorgan Chase and HSBC, must pay a total of around €485 million in fines for manipulating the Euribor benchmark interest rate. Specifically, the commission imposed a fine of around €33.6m on HSBC, €114m on Credit Agricole and more than €337m on JPMorgan Chase.
For competition authorities in Brussels, it was the end of years of investigation into the scandal. However, Banks complained. Credit Agricole and JPMorgan Chase are still pending before the General Court of the European Union.
In the case of HSBC, the General Court of the European Union had already issued a ruling in 2019 and overturned the ruling. HSBC acted illegally, but the fine was not adequately calculated. The European Court of Justice shares this assessment in its ruling. The issue is not on the table: the EU Commission recalculated the fine in the summer of 2021 and set it at 31.7 million euros. HSBC again brought an action to the General Court of the European Union in separate proceedings (Case T-561/21).