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HSBC Euribor fine overturned by General Court 27.09.19

On 24 September 2019, the General Court handed down its judgment in HSBC Holdings v Commission, allowing part of HSBC’s appeal and annulling the penalty imposed on HSBC. In 2016, the Commission found that HSBC and six other banks had infringed Article 101(1) TFEU, through an attempt to manipulate the level of the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor) and engaging in unrelated exchanges of information in relation to Euro interest rate derivatives (EIRDs). The Commission fined HSBC over €33 million. The Court upheld the Commission’s conclusions that the manipulation and information exchanges on mids are anticompetitive, but it agreed with HSBC that two exchanges of information on trading positions did not have the object of restricting competition. The Court also set aside the fine imposed on HSBC due to insufficient reasoning, in particular because the concept of “value of sales” does not have an immediate interpretation in EIRD markets. An RBB team led by Francesco Rosati and assisted by Chris Whelan and Christian Ehmer advised HSBC, and Francesco also provided expert testimony in the General Court. RBB worked alongside law firm Norton Rose Fulbright and barristers Kelyn Bacon QC and David Bailey. The judgement is available here.