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SWISS ROLL OUT NEW FINES TO RBS AND BARCLAYS FOR LIBOR RATE RIGGING SCANDAL

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As the libor rate rigging scandal continues to rumble on, the Swiss Competition Commission – Comco has now named and fined a number of banks involved in running cartels to influence libor rates over the last decade. Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays are among seven banks that have been hit with total 

fines of about 99 million Swiss francs (£78m) for rate rigging after the four-year probe. Comco first launched its investigation in 2012 against 16 banks and five brokers.

The latest revelations inform us that along with RBS and Barclays, Comco also fined US investment banking giants Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, German group Deutsche Bank, French player Societe Generale and Swiss bank Credit Suisse. These new fines are the latest in a long line of penalties for numerous banks in the rate-rigging scandals that have come to light since the 2008 financial crisis.

Comco said RBS and JP Morgan ran a “bilateral cartel” to influence the Swiss franc Libor benchmark rate between 2008 and 2009. RBS avoided a penalty as it was given immunity for revealing the cartel, while JP Morgan was fined SFr33.9m. RBS was however fined by Comco for its role in rigging other financial rates and it was part of a group alongside Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and JP Morgan who will pay a total of SFr14.4m for colluding to influence the yen Libor rate and related yen derivatives between 2007 and 2010. Comco is also continuing a related investigation of banks and dealers including Lloyds Banking Group and HSBC.

RBS and Barclays were among another group of banks fined SFr45.3m for manipulating the Euro Interbank Offered Rate, or Euribor. Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale also took part in this cartel between 2005 and 2008, according to Comco, but Deutsche Bank was not fined as it blew the whistle on the arrangement. Ongoing investigations continue against HSBC, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, JP Morgan and Rabobank.

The commission said RBS was further involved – alongside Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and UBS – in fixing the price of Swiss franc interest rate derivatives in 2007. UBS received immunity for revealing the cartel and was not fined, but the other players will have to pay SFr5.4m.

Interbank lending rates are used to set billions of financial trades and deals worldwide every day, including car loans and mortgages as well as in overseas financial transactions.

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