U.S. News

Bank punishment 'won't change anything': Lawyer

Are guilty pleas enough for big banks?

Punishments leveled on international banks involved in foreign exchange rate manipulation "won't change anything," an attorney said Wednesday.

Five institutions including JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup were fined roughly $5.7 billion combined, and four pleaded guilty to U.S. criminal charges over the currency market misconduct, authorities said Wednesday. A fifth bank, UBS, will plead guilty to rigging benchmark interest rates, the U.S. Justice Department said.

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Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Euro dollar traders at four of the banks described themselves as members of "The Cartel'' and used an electronic chatroom and coded language to manipulate exchange rates to increase profits, the agency said.

The settlement will fail to prompt change because the individuals who manipulated markets will not face charges themselves, said Marc LoPresti, founding partner of LoPresti Law Group.

"It's no secret who the wrongdoers were," LoPresti said in a CNBC "Closing Bell" interview.

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He contended that the punishment will come down more on shareholders than the traders themselves.

The punishment marks "a good first step," attorney Andrew Stoltmann said Wednesday. But he added that it had not gone far enough.

"The individuals who engaged in this activity have to be indicted," he said on "Closing Bell."

Reuters contributed to this report.