Libor rate-fixing scandal: 16 Major banks in Europe, Japan and USA are under investigation by authorities
July 12, 2012 (TSR) – More than a dozen banks are under investigation by authorities in Europe, Japan, Canada and the United States over the suspected rigging of the London interbank offered rate, a key interest rate used in contracts worth trillions of dollars globally.
Some 16 banks contributed to the setting of dollar Libor rates in 2008, the period at the centre of investigations, according to Reuters.
So far, British lender Barclays has been the only bank to admit wrongdoing.
“BANKSTERS” is finally a recognized mainstream word, the crime syndicate at the highest echelons, and Economist wrote about it recently.
Following is what is known about the involvement of the 16 banks.
BANK OF AMERICA
Bank of America is among the banks being investigated, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters last year. The bank did not comment in its 2011 annual report.
It is one of 11 banks accused of conspiring to manipulate Libor in two lawsuits filed by discount brokerage and money manager Charles Schwab.
The UK bank has been at the centre of a very public storm since US and British authorities fined it more than $450 million last month for its part in manipulating Libor.
The ensuing backlash cost chief executive Bob Diamond and chairman Marcus Agius their jobs. The pair have appeared before a parliamentary committee to testify about what went on at the bank, in a scandal which has drawn in British central bankers and government ministers.
The Swiss Competition Commission said in February that Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ was among those it was investigating on suspicion of conspiring to manipulate rates. The Japanese bank did not comment on any probes in its 2011 annual report.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group has suspended two London-based traders as a result of a probe. The traders, named as Christian Schluep and Paul Robson by a source close to Mitsubishi, worked together for years at Dutch lender Rabobank before joining the Japanese bank, according to the Financial Services Authority register. Both men are now listed as “inactive” on the FSA register.
This month, the group suspended two London-based traders as a result of a probe into manipulating interbank lending rates, but the bank said that was not to do with their conduct at BTMU. They had previously worked at Dutch lender Rabobank.
Citigroup said its subsidiaries had received requests for information and documents as part of investigations in various jurisdictions. The US bank said it was cooperating.
The bank is also subject to a number of private lawsuits filed in the US against banks that served on the Libor panel.
In December, Japan’s financial regulator said it would penalise the Japan securities units of Citigroup and UBS after finding that an individual who worked at UBS and then moved to Citi had, along with his boss at Citi, attempted to influence the Tokyo interbank offered rate (Tibor).
Credit Suisse is one of 12 banks being investigated by the Swiss Competition Commission about alleged collusive behaviour among traders to influence the bid ask spread for derivatives tied to Libor and Tibor as well as the rates themselves. Credit Suisse said it was cooperating fully.
The German bank said it was cooperating with investigations in the United States and Europe in connection with setting rates between 2005 and 2011.
It has had civil actions filed against it in the United States related to the setting of Libor.
Germany’s market regulator has launched a probe into the bank over suspected manipulation of interbank lending rates, sources have said. Results are expected in mid-July.
German magazine Der Spiegel reported, citing no sources, that two Deutsche Bank employees have been suspended after external auditors examined whether staff were involved in manipulating rates.
The bank, now a subsidiary of Lloyds, said it was cooperating with investigations. It has also been named in private US lawsuits related to the setting of Libor.
HBOS said it in its 2011 annual report it was not possible to predict the scope, outcome or impact of the investigations and lawsuits.
HSBC has said it received demands from regulators for information in connection with Libor investigations and it was cooperating. It has also been named in lawsuits related to Libor in the United States.
HSBC said in its 2011 annual report that it could not predict the outcome of the investigations and lawsuits.
JPMorgan said it was cooperating with regulators and government bodies investigating the setting of Libor, Euribor and Tibor rates, mainly in 2007 and 2008.
It has also been named as a defendant in private US lawsuits over Libor.