Icap, the international money broker run by former Conversative party chairman Michael Spencer, has reacted angrily to a €14.9m (£11.3m) fine from the European commission for rigging Libor.
After a long-running dispute, the commission said it was fining Icap for facilitating several cartels involved in setting benchmark interest rates in the Japanese yen.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the decision to fine Icap “sends a strong signal that assisting companies in their cartel activities has severe consequences”.
“It marks the successful completion of our antitrust investigation in the yen interest rate derivatives sector – but not the end to our efforts to fight anticompetitive practices in financial markets,” she said.
But Icap, which is the world’s biggest inter dealer broker and has already been fined by the City regulator and the US authorities, said the decision was wrong in fact and law.
“This is a regulatory matter that has already been settled. It is not a competition issue, and the EC has presented no evidence that Icap facilitated a competition law violation. Icap will be challenging this decision at appeal in the European Courts,” the company said.
The commission has already imposed €669m of fines for Libor rigging on banks including Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank which had admitted their involvement in cartels to set yen Libor. Icap refused to settle and the EC said it had found that the broker facilitated six of the seven cartels it had identified.
The EC kicked started the formal process against Icap in June 2014 when it issued a statement of objectives, a key step in its investigative procedures.
Spencer has already expressed his regret about the role of three of Icap’s former employees in rigging Libor for which it was fined £55m in September 2013. One of them was known as “Lord Libor”. At the time, Spencer described up to 10 former and current employes as “rotten apples”.
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