April 24, 2015 / 6:02 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-HSBC, JPMorgan, C Agricole to fight EU charges at June hearing - sources

* Hearing with Commission, national regulators on 15-17 June

* Chance for banks to plead case, reject EU arguments

* Possible fines of as much as 10 pct of global revenues (Adds HSBC, JPMorgan decline to comment)

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS, April 24 (Reuters) - HSBC Holdings, JPMorgan and Credit Agricole will seek to fight European Union charges of rigging financial benchmarks at a closed door hearing in June, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The European Commission accused the three banks in May last year of manipulating the Euribor interbank offered rate after they refused to settle a case five months earlier, unlike six other banks.

In December 2013, a record 1.7-billion-euro fine was imposed on six banks including Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Citigroup for alleged benchmark rigging. The banks settled these charges and received a 10-percent cut in the fines.

“The hearing will be from 15 to 17 June,” the people said.

Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso declined to comment. HSBC and JPMorgan declined to comment.

In these hearings, companies typically take the opportunity to press their case in front of an audience of experts from the EU executive and national regulators.

JPMorgan said last year the EU charges were without merit while HSBC said it would defend itself vigorously. Credit Agricole last month got a boost when the European Ombudsman backed its claim of Commission bias during the investigation.

The Commission usually takes several months to come to a decision after such a hearing.

HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, U.S. bank JP Morgan and French peer Credit Agricole could face fines up to 10 percent of their global revenues if found guilty.

Regulators have slapped total fines of around $8.5 billion on some of the world’s largest banks for market rigging and collusion in the last seven years. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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