WASHINGTON, May 4 (UPI) -- UBS admitted former employees engaged in bid-rigging and agreed to pay $160 million in penalties, the U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday.
Former UBS employees participated in the bid-rigging conspiracy from 2001 to 2006, the Justice Department said in a release.
The non-prosecution agreement said the former UBS officials in its municipal reinvestment and derivatives units illegally agreed to manipulate the bidding process and rig bids on municipal investment contracts.
"UBS and its former executives engaged in illegal conduct that corrupted the competitive process and harmed municipalities, and ultimately taxpayers, nationwide," Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney said. "Today's agreements with UBS ensure that restitution is paid to the victims of the anti-competitive conduct, that UBS pays penalties and disgorges its ill-gotten gains."
Under the agreement, UBS agreed to pay restitution to victims and to cooperate with the Justice Department's Antitrust Division in its investigation into anti-competitive conduct in the municipal bond derivatives industry. To date, the investigation resulted in criminal charges against 18 former executives of various financial services companies and one corporation. Nine of the executives charged have pleaded guilty.
The Justice Department said it agreed not to prosecute UBS for the manipulation and bid rigging, provided that UBS satisfies its obligations under the agreement.