Washington, Dec 22: US regulators fined Goldman Sachs USD 120 million on Wednesday for attempting to manipulate a widely-used global interest rate benchmark to benefit its trading positions. Goldman Sachs traders, between 2007 and 2012, deliberately timed and priced trades to influence the published price of the benchmark interest rate, the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission said in a statement.
Goldman, one of a group of banks whose data set the benchmark daily, also made false submissions to skew the rate at the expense of counterparties, the CFTC said. The US Dollar International Swaps and Derivatives Association Fix is a daily benchmark used for a wide range of financial products, such as interest-rate swaps and derivatives.
In addition, the company's cooperation 'was not satisfactory' prior to the latter stages of the investigation, the CFTC added. The agency previously fined Citigroup and Barclays for attempted manipulation of the same benchmark interest rate.
"This matter, the third enforcement action relating to the (benchmark), demonstrates the breadth of this kind of misconduct across the industry, and within Goldman, the extent of the misconduct across trading desks and product lines," said CFTC director of enforcement Aitan Goelman.
Besides paying the fine, Goldman's supervisor for trading on interest-rate products must attest to the effectiveness of remedies to fix the problem. In a separate case, the Swiss Competition Commission earlier today hit eight large global banks a total fine of nearly USD 100 million for rigging international rates between 2005 and 2010. The group included Barclays, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase.