NatWest Markets pleaded guilty and agreed to a fine of $ 35 million to settle U.S. criminal charges of committing fraud in the Treasury bond market, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.
US officials have described the UK finance heavyweight as a “repeat offender” because the violations violated previous agreements with the company formerly known as RBS Securities.
“As we have already warned, there will be serious consequences for a company that violates the terms of an agreement with the government,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “Today’s guilty plea by NatWest and the associated penalty show exactly that.”
NatWest Markets has pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud related to “identity theft” in the giant US Treasury market.
The group’s traders have placed orders with the intention of canceling the transaction in order to artificially push the market up or down. The traders then made money through these price movements.
The exchanges took place between 2008 and 2014 and over about three months in 2018, the justice ministry said in a court file.
“For more than six years, NatWest has engaged in separate fraud schemes to manipulate the market and make money illegally,” said US Postal Inspector Eric Shen.
The Justice Department said the conduct violated a 2017 non-prosecution agreement regarding the fraudulent trading of mortgage-backed securities of NatWest and occurred while she was on probation following a guilty plea in 2015 for conspiring to manipulate the foreign exchange market.
“We deeply regret the past behavior of a small number of former employees, which led to today’s guilty plea,” said Robert Begbie, Managing Director of NatWest Markets.
“The behavior of these individuals was unacceptable and has no place in the bank that we are today.”