Citi near deal to pay $7 billion fine for shoddy bonds

Wednesday 09 July 2014 12.26
Citigroup is said to be finalising a deal with the US Justice Department
Citigroup is said to be finalising a deal with the US Justice Department

Citigroup is close to paying about $7 billion to resolve a US probe into whether it defrauded investors on billions of dollars worth of mortgage securities in the run-up to the financial crisis.

This is according to a source familiar with the matter said. 

A majority of the settlement is expected to be in cash, but the figure also includes several billion dollars in help to struggling borrowers, the source said. 

An announcement of the settlement between the bank and the US Department of Justice could come as early as next week, the source said. 

Reuters said that Citigroup representative declined to comment. A Justice Department spokeswoman also did not respond to requests for comment. 

A settlement of around $7 billion for Citigroup would be higher than analysts had expected based on the bank's mortgage securities business. 

Some Wall Street analysts had previously estimated that Citigroup likely had about $3 billion of reserves set aside for a related settlement. US authorities had demanded more than $10 billion last month, Reuters reported. 

Talks between US authorities and Citigroup stalled last month after both sides stood far apart on a settlement figure and the Justice Department had prepared to sue the bank. 

The bank is scheduled to report second-quarter results on Monday. Analysts, on average, have estimated the company would earn $3.4 billion. 

US Attorneys offices in Brooklyn and Colorado have been investigating the bank as part of a larger task force probing faulty mortgage securities that helped fuel the housing bubble in the mid-2000s and contributed to its collapse. 

JPMorgan Chase & Co paid $13 billion in November to resolve a range of probes from the task force, in a deal that US authorities said would serve as a template for other banks. Bank of America has also been in negotiations to resolve similar investigations.