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European Commission probing collusion among 8 banks to fix bond prices

Eight banks are under investigation for allegedly colluding to fix prices in the eurozone government bond market, the European Commission said in a statement Thursday.

According to the European competition regulator, some traders of the eight banks operated a cartel between 2007 and 2012 in the European economic area, breaching European antitrust law.

The traders are believed to have exchanged commercially sensitive information and coordinated on trading strategies through online chat rooms, the commission said.

The investigation follows separate collusion allegations against traders of sovereign, suprasovereign — such as institutions like the European Investment Bank — and regional development bank bonds denominated in U.S. dollars, who at different periods from 2009 to 2015 are believed by the EC to have coordinated bond prices.

The EC has informed the banks by letter about its investigation, although which banks are involved could not be learned.