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In a story so shocking it's not shocking at all, news comes today that six of the too-biggest-to-failiest banks in the entire world worked together in secret to control currency prices, for SIX YEARS, and thus enriched themselves in the process. And now they have to pay $5.8 billion in fines, because they are guilty guilty GUILTY. No, really, act surprised:


Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Plc agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros in settlements with the Justice Department announced in Washington Wednesday. The main banking unit of UBS Group AG agreed to plead guilty to charges related to interest-rate manipulation. The Swiss bank, the first to cooperate with antitrust investigators, was granted immunity in the currency probe.

The four banks that agreed to plead guilty to currency charges are among the world’s biggest foreign-exchange traders. They were accused of colluding to influence benchmark rates by aligning positions and pushing transactions through at the same time. Traders who described themselves as members of “The Cartel” used online chat rooms to discuss their positions in the minutes before the rates were set, the Justice Department said.

While yr Wonkette is not a Wall Street Banker, we feel qualified to point out that when gigantic corporations, which are supposed to be competing with each other in the HOLY FREE MARKET, instead decide not to compete, but to secretly give each other free handjobs while they fuck with currency prices, just so they can all make fucktons of money (everybody wins in this "competition"), then that is a problem!

Here is how this worked:

“The Cartel” traders coordinated their exchange of U.S. dollars and euros in an effort to increase their profits by manipulating the benchmark rates set at the two major daily “fixes,” which take place at 1:15 p.m. and 4 p.m., according to the statement.

Oh, so there they would be, in their GChats or their Slacks, making all the normal international water cooler talk they do, and then 1:15 gets close and they say, "Oh quick, it is time be The Cartel now, because we call ourselves that because we KNOW we're doing criminal stuff," and then once that's over, they go back to making jokes about what a bitch Barbara in accounting is, until 4:00, when it's CRIME TIME again. Day after day, for six years.

Hey, maybe while they're paying their fines, the U.S. government might get them to also write apology letters to people like, for instance, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has had the banks' number from the get-go, instead of trying to bully her into not yelling at them for being criminals.

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Nah, they won't do that. They'll just have to find a new way to crime with federally insured money, because that's how they do.

[Bloomberg / Washington Times]

Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

Follow him on Twitter RIGHT HERE.

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