Citigroup Inc. May Plead Guilty In Forex Investigation

Citigroup Inc. may plead guilty to an antitrust charge as part a wider settlement with the DoJ over allegations that traders at the bank were fixing foreign exchange rates. A regulatory filing from the bank also revealed that Citigroup is in “active discussions” about a settlement with the DoJ, writes Christina Rexrode for The Wall Street Journal.

Major banks investigated by regulators

The bank is one of a number of institutions that stand accused of gaining a competitive advantage by manipulating foreign-exchange markets, sometimes costing their own clients money.

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Last week the WSJ ran a story claiming that Citigroup, Barclays PLC, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group are all expected to submit guilty pleas related to criminal antitrust charges. Each bank is expected to reach a separate settlement with the Justice Department. Today marks the first occasion that Citigroup has admitted that it may plead guilty.

Citigroup did previously confirm that the Justice Department was investigating foreign-exchange trading at the bank. For its part, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. confirmed last week that it is in “advanced stages” of its own discussions with the Justice Department, as well as the Federal Reserve, concerning a settlement.

Legal wrangling continues at Citigroup

A settlement reached in November between a group of banks and some British and U.S. regulators saw Citigroup pay around $1 billion to the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in the U.S., although these settlements did not require the banks to admit their guilt.

As well as commenting on the foreign-exchange investigation in general, Citigroup also revealed that the Justice Department will no longer be pursuing its investigation into the bank allegedly rigging the Libor interest rate.

Citigroup also reported that Argentina had filed a lawsuit against the bank, and some of its employees could be subject to criminal charges as the South American nation battles with the U.S. over payments to hedge funds.