Banks Work To Settle Libor Rigging Probe With Switzerland

Bloomberg says that according two sources, at least six banks are working to resolve a Swiss probe into Libor rigging allegations. COMCO, the competition regulator in Switzerland, is reportedly looking to conclude its probe by July. It has been looking into possible collusion by traders to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate and the Tibor, Libor’s Japanese counterpart.

While the names of the firms that COMCO hopes to conclude its probe with have not been disclosed, a dozen banks were originally named at the start of its investigation in 2012, including Deutsche Bank (DB), UBS (UBS), HSBC (HSBC), Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS), and Credit Suisse (CS). UBS, which is a Swiss bank, was granted limited immunity, however, because it was the first to step forward and assist in the Libor rigging investigation.

The maximum that Comco is allowed to impose in cases like this one is 10% of a Company’s revenue in Switzerland over the past three years in the area under investigation. Already, some of the firms mentioned in this probe have settled investigations with regulators in the U.K. and the U.S. for about $9 billion. And there are other probes still. Comco continues to look into allegations of Forex manipulation.

In other Libor rigging news, two ex-Rabobank (RABO) traders are trying to get a federal judge in the U.S. to toss out their convictions for manipulating the interest benchmark.

Lawyers for Anthony Conti and Anthony Allen argued that the verdicts against the two men should be reversed because their submissions to the British Bankers’ Association that calculated and published Libor fell within a range that was acceptable. They said that prosecutors did not succeed in proving that the two men’s Libor submissions could affect either the British panel or trading counterparties of Rabobank. They also contended that the case against Conti and Allen utilized an improper application of federal laws to impose punishment against behavior that happened abroad. The attorneys claimed that prosecutors failed to show that the defendants knew that their Libor submissions could cause harm in this country and did not have “fair notice” that their conduct was illegal.

Conti and Allen were convicted of wire fraud and conspiracy in a probe into whether bank employees made fraudulent submissions to the association to enhance trading positions. In 2013, Rabobank paid over $1 billion to resolve allegations that it was involved in Libor rigging.

Six Banks Negotiating Settlement in Swiss Libor Probe, Bloomberg, January 22, 2016