That is the view of Syedur Rahman of business crime solicitors Rahman Ravelli.
Five banks have been fined more than one billion euros in total for colluding in the foreign exchange market.
The four banks in what was known as the "Banana Split" cartel - Barclays, RBS, Citigroup and JP Morgan - were fined €811M, while those in the so-called "Essex Express" cartel - Barclays and RBS again, plus MUFG - were fined €258M. Another bank, UBS, was not fined because it revealed the cartel behaviour to the authorities.
The fines were imposed on the five banks by European Union regulators, who said that investigators had found that some bank employees in charge of spot trading in 11 currencies had exchanged sensitive information and trading plans. They also sometimes coordinated strategies through online professional chat rooms.
In announcing the fines, the EU's competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager stressed that foreign exchange spot trading activities are one of the largest markets in the world, worth billions of euros every day. This not only explains the size of the market, it also underlines the importance of preventing collusion.
This incident clearly shows that the banks involved have undermined this sector at the expense of both the European economy as a whole and its consumers.
There is an argument to be made that says the problem relates to the fines imposed. If fines for such activity were substantially increased and were more widely publicised then the size of the penalties coupled with the reputational damage may act as a greater deterrent, thus making such instances less likely to happen. It would be also better if member states were compelled to investigate or open up independent agencies to look into these matters.
You can read more about Competition & Cartels at our website here: https://www.rahmanravelli.co.uk/expertise/competition-and-cartels/
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.