By Anthony Harrup 
 

MEXICO CITY--Mexico's antitrust agency said Monday that it fined seven banks and 11 traders a total of $1.7 million for involvement in manipulating prices of certain Mexican government bonds between 2010 and 2013.

The federal competition commission fined units of Barclays Bank Plc, Deutsche Bank AG, Banco Santander SA, Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA and JPMorgan Chase & Co., as well as 11 traders who had used messaging services contracted by the banks.

The commission said it found evidence of 142 agreements to manipulate prices of Mexican government bonds in the secondary market, which had an impact on buyers of the bonds for 29.4 million pesos, around $1.5 million at the current exchange rate.

It said the market manipulation occurred before Mexico's competition laws were changed and sanctions for violations were increased. "This market has to be trustworthy and competitive, because it can have a large impact on public finances and on the public's possibilities for saving," it said in a release.

The intervention of antitrust authorities led to changes in the way financial institutions interact, and dissuades illegal agreements in the sector, the commission added.

Banco Santander Mexico denied violating competition laws and said it will contest the fine in federal courts. BBVA Mexico said it has a "different interpretation" than the conclusion reached by the commission, and that it is analyzing its next steps.

Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and Bank of America declined to comment, and Barclays couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

 

Write to Anthony Harrup at anthony.harrup@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 25, 2021 13:31 ET (18:31 GMT)

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