Rabobank next in line for Libor fiddling fines

 
Tim Wallace
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DUTCH lender Rabobank could be the next institution to be fined for manipulating key market interest rates, it emerged yesterday, making it the fourth to be hit by a major bill following the scandal.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is believed to be investigating wrongdoing at the bank, alongside the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Department of Justice (DoJ).

Previous cases have found traders at banks offering colleagues and counterparts at other banks and brokerages bribes to submit false rates to the Libor-setting process in an effort to artificially flatter their positions.

And some tried to enter falsely low rates at the start of the financial crisis to hide the rising rate of borrowing facing the struggling sector.

Barclays was the first to face the regulators, paying £290m last summer, followed by Swiss giant UBS which faced a bill of $1.5bn (£992m) in December.

RBS came next with a £390m fine this month.

Rabobank’s fine could be in the region of $440m, coming in between those of RBS and Barclays, according to Bloomberg sources.

“Government authorities in various jurisdictions are investigating a number of banks, including Rabobank, in connection with the Libor and Euribor setting process. Rabobank is cooperating with these investigations,” the bank said in a statement.

“At this point in time, it is still unsure when these investigations will be concluded. Based on the facts currently known and the publicly announced outcome of other panel banks’ investigations, it is likely that an assessment of the facts and circumstances will lead to a settlement. The amount of such a settlement cannot be estimated reliably at this time.”

The Financial Services Authority declined to comment.

Libor was previously managed by the British Bankers’ Association, but a new committee appointed by the Treasury plans to run the tender process for a new owner of the process, set to be named this summer.