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BAML, C.Agricole, C.Suisse fined over bond cartel

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(Corrects name of third bank to Credit Agricole, paragraph 4)

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML), Credit Agricole and Credit Suisse were fined 28.5 million euros ($34.4 million) by EU antitrust regulators on Wednesday for taking part in a bond cartel.

Deutsche Bank was not penalised because it alerted the cartel to the European Commission.

The EU competition watchdog said the cartel operated in the European secondary trading market related to supra-sovereign, sovereign and agency (SSA) bonds denominated in U.S. dollars.

BAML‘s fine was fined 12.6 million euros, Credit Suisse 11.9 million and Credit Agricole 3.9 million euros.

The Commission said traders at the four banks colluded on trading strategies, exchanged sensitive pricing information and coordinated on prices over five years.

“The behaviour of the investment banks restricted competition in a market in which investment and pension funds regularly buy and sell bonds on behalf of their investors and pensioners,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

($1 = 0.8284 euros)

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Jason Neely)

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