Lloyds ripped off Bank of England by fiddling Libor rates

Tim Wallace
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Bank of England boss Mark Carney said Lloyds' staff may have behaved in a criminal way
Lloyds was hit by £226m in fines and settlements yesterday as the bank admitted its staff fiddled Libor and the influential repurchase agreements rate benchmark in the years before the financial crisis.

Of that, £7.75m is going to the Bank of England as compensation for fees it dodged in the crash by manipulating the repo rate – the repos price index.

The Bank of England gave Lloyds and Bank of Scotland – now part of Lloyds Banking Group – emergency support in the depths of the credit crunch.

But the fees charged for the Special Liquidity Scheme (SLS) were in part based on the repo benchmark, traders cut the bill by manipulating the rate.

“Such manipulation is highly reprehensible, clearly unlawful and may amount to criminal conduct on the part of the individuals involved,” said Bank of England boss Mark Carney.

His condemnation comes as think-tank ResPublica calls for a bankers’ oath to promote high standards.

Some staff were manipulating the Libor submission to boost profits from trading positions. And when the crash struck, managers pressured traders to cut the submission to flatter the bank’s image in the financial markets.

Of the other £218m in fines, £70m is going to the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority for repo rate fiddling.

The remainder is for Libor abuses – £35m to the FCA, £62m to the US’ Com­modity Futures Trading Commission and £51m to the US Department of Justice.

The investigations found 19 staff in total were responsible for the wrongdoing or knew what was occurring. Two traders and two managers were in­volved in repo rate rigging, while 16 were involved in Libor. One was inv­olved in fiddling both benchmarks.

Of those, 10 left the bank before this investigation. The remainder have all been suspended.

Lloyds’ remuneration committee is looking at the case, to see if any bonuses from past years can be clawed back.

“The behaviours identified by these investigations are absolutely unacceptable,” said CEO Antonio Horta-Os­o­rio, noting that Lloyds had since adopted new oversight procedures.

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