By Jonathan Davies

Five banks have been fined a total of £2bn by UK and US regulators following an investigation into the fixing of currency markets.

HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Swiss bank UBS, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank were all fined.

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued fines totalling £1.1bn and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued fines of £900m.

Barclays has previously said it had set aside hundreds of millions of pounds to cover the costs of the probe, but a separate investigation is still ongoing. It said it would not settle at this time.

"After discussions with other regulators and authorities, we have concluded that it is in the interests of the company to seek a more general coordinated settlement," Barclays said in a statement.

The investigation was into the $5.3 trillion currency market. Around 40% of all of the market's deals are believed to be done in London.

The FCA said it is the single largest fine it has ever issued, including its predecessor the Financial Services Authority.

"Today's fine marks the gravity of the failings we found and firms need to take responsibility for putting it right. They must make sure their traders do not game the system to boost profits or leave the ethics of their conduct to compliance to worry about," said FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley.

"The setting of a benchmark rate is not simply another opportunity for banks to earn a profit. Countless individuals and companies around the world rely on these rates to settle financial contracts," said the CFTC's director of enforcement Aitan Goelman.

Chancellor George Osborne said the fines were part of a "long term plan that is fixing what went wrong in Britain's banks and our economy".

"All of this action means the world can have confidence in the integrity of Britain's financial markets," he added.

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