Three banks were fined €371 million ($451 million) by the European Commission for colluding to fix prices in the eurozone government bond market.
Traders of Nomura, UBS and UniCredit operated a cartel in the primary and secondary market for eurozone government bonds between 2007 and 2011, breaching European antitrust law, the commission said Thursday.
The traders exchanged commercially sensitive information via chatrooms and coordinated on trading strategies, updating each other on prices and volumes offered in the run-up to bond auctions, the commission said.
"After thoroughly examining the content of the decision, Nomura will consider all options, including an appeal," Nomura said in a statement on its website, noting that it previously set aside the €130 million needed to cover the fine and therefore doesn't expect it to impact its earnings for the fiscal year ending March 2022.
UniCredit said it plans to appeal the decision, adding that the group "vigorously contests the decision and maintains that the findings do not demonstrate any wrongdoing on the part of UniCredit."
A spokesmen for UBS said the firm took action to improve its processes years ago and is considering an appeal.
Nomura, UniCredit and UBS were just three of seven banks the commission named in its decision Thursday.Bank of America, Natixis, RBS, which became NatWest Group in 2020, and WestLB, which became Portigon in 2012, were also found to have breached EU antitrust rules through the participation in the same cartel.
A source close to the commission said that one bank was dropped during the investigation.
The commission said NatWest was not fined because it revealed the cartel to the commission.
Bank of America and Natixis were also not fined because their breaches fell outside the period for when the fine was assessed. Portigon, meanwhile, did not generate enough revenue last year to qualify for a fine.
Thursday's action was result of an investigation started in 2019 into the eight banks for possible collusion to fix prices in the eurozone government bond market.