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EU watchdog: looks like investment banks colluded

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Commission says many of the world's largest investment banks appear to have colluded to block attempts by exchanges to trade and offer more transparent prices for financial products known as credit derivatives.

The commission, the executive arm of the European Union, said Monday it has informed 13 banks — including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley — as well as the industry association for derivatives and a data service provider, of its objections.

The objections detail what the groups are thought to have done. Sending these closes the first phase of an investigation that began in March. Next the banks will have 30 days to respond. Then the commission must make a decision on whether the companies violated antitrust rules before considering consequences, which could include fines.