Articles Posted in LIBOR Scandal

Judge Orders Deutsche Bank Subsidiary to Pay $150Mfor Libor Rigging
A federal judge is ordering Deutsche Bank Group Services, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank (DB), to pay $150M for its involvement in an interest rate manipulation scam. The London unit pleaded guilty last year to rigging the London Interbank Offered Rate benchmark.

The fine comes two years after Deutsche Bank settled Libor rigging allegations with US and British regulators for $2.5B. According to prosecutors, derivatives traders at the German bank and at other banks colluded together to manipulate LIBOR rates to preference their trading positions.

Libor rigging allegations are not the only claims that Deutsche Bank has been contending with. Recently, the German Bank reached a $7.2B settlement with the US DOJ over its part in the 2008 global financial crisis. Meantime, NY and British officials ordered Deutsche Bank to pay $630M in fines because of alleged money laundering that occurred in Russia.

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Libor Trial Of Two-Ex Barclays Traders Begins
Ryan Reich and Stylianos Contogoulas are on trial in London on criminal charges accusing them of rigging the US dollar Libor. According to prosecutors, from ’05-’07, the two ex-Barclays Plc (BARC) traders conspired to manipulate the interest-rate benchmark in order to profit illegally.

Contogoulas and Reich have pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges. Two other ex-Barclays employees, Jonathan Mathew and Peter Johnson, were previously convicted for rigging Libor. They were tasked with submitting Libor rates.

16 banks are responsible for determining the Libor dollar rate every day. They do this by estimating how much it would cost to borrow from one another over different periods. The Libor dollar rate is linked to mortgages and loans and other financial products. Already, a number of big banks have collectively paid several billion dollars for their role in Libor manipulation.

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In London, six traders have pleaded not guilty to charges accusing them of trying to rig Euribor, which is the Brussels-based equivalent of the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor). Euribor is key in establishing the rates on financial contracts, loans, and other financial products around the world.

The defendants include former Deutsche Bank (DB) trader Christian Bittar, current Deutsche trader Achim Kraemer, and former Barclays (BARC) traders Philippe Moryoussef, Colin Bermingham, Carlo Palombo, and Sisse Bohart. They are charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud through the making or obtaining of false or misleading Euribor rates in order allegedly enhance trading profits.

The criminal charges are related to a probe by the Serious Fraud Office. Five other traders from Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale were previously charged.

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Four ex-Barclays (BCS) bankers who were convicted for conspiring to manipulate global benchmark interest rates have been sentenced to time behind bars for their crimes. The defendants and their prison terms are: Jay Merchant, for six-and-a-half years; Jonathan Mathew for four years; Peter Johnson for four years, and Alex Pabon for two years and nine months.

While Merchant, Mathew, and Pabon were convicted of their crimes, Johnson, a former senior dollar Libor submitter and the ex-head of dollar cash trading, pleaded guilty in the case against him in 2014. They all were charged with conspiracy to defraud involving Libor rigging to benefit their banks and one another as they defrauded others.

The judge who presided over the former Barclays traders’ case accused them of abusing their position, committing the offenses more than once over a significant period of time, and compromising the banking industry. All of the men will serve half their prison terms before being released on license.

The manipulation of Libor, the London interbank offered rate, and other benchmark interest rates led to a global probe that has resulted in hefty fines for the firms whose brokers colluded together to rig rates. In 2012, Barclays admitted that it let its derivatives traders rig Libor rates. The bank paid $450M to authorities in the US and Europe to settle charges. Collectively, the banks accused in the Libor manipulation scandal have paid billions of dollars in penalties. There have been at least 13 convictions.

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HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBC) will pay $35M to resolve an anti-trust lawsuit accusing the bank of Euroyen Tibor and yen Libor rigging. The securities case, brought by Sonterra Capital Master Fund, Hayman Capital Management, California State Teachers’ Retirement System, lead plaintiff Jeffrey Laydon, and other institutional investors, accused HSBC and other banks of manipulating benchmark rates over several years.
According to the investor lawsuit, Laydon sustained losses in the thousands of dollars in 2007 when shorting the Euroyen Tokyo Interbank Offered Rate (Euroyen Tibor).

As part of the settlement, HSBC will provide attorney proffers detailing facts that the bank uncovered during its own probes into Euroyen Tibor and Euroyen Libor manipulation, witness statements made by its employees, specific documents that it has given to the Federal Reserve Board of New York and regulators, and other information.

A judge has to approve the deal.

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Citibank (C) is the first U.S. bank to settle allegations of benchmark interest rate manipulation. To resolve the Commodities Futures Trading Commission claims that it manipulated the London Interbank Offered Rates (LIBOR), Citibank will pay $250M. It will pay $175M to resolve Euroyen Tibor and Yen Libor rigging claims. Also settling charges within this case are Citibank Japan Ltd (CJL) and Citigroup Global Markets Japan Inc. (CGMJ).

The CFTC claims that between ’07 and ‘12 Citigroup had specific traders input false information so their trading positions would benefit. It also claims that the bank’s affiliates issued false reports related to dollar Libor rates and ISDAFIX benchmark rates during the financial crisis so that its reputation would be protected.

Citigroup Global Markets Japan is charged with trying to rig Euroyen TIBOR and Yen LIBOR. Citibank Japan Ltd. is accused of engaging in false reporting related to the Euroyen TIBOR so that derivatives trading positions priced according to Euroyen TIBOR and Yen LIBOR would purportedly benefit.

Libor, along with the Tokyo Interbank Offered Rate (Tibor), is what banks use to establish the cost of borrowing from one another. Libor is also used to set the rates on mortgages, credit cards, derivatives, and other financial products.

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Investors and HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBC) and HSBC Bank PLC have settled two proposed anti- trust class action lawsuits accusing the banks of fixing yen-denominated Libor rates. The first lawsuit, which was filed in 2012, contends that lead plaintiff Jeffrey Laydon lost thousands of dollars in 2006 while shorting derivatives involving the Euroyen Tokyo Interbank Offered Rate. Laydon said that the banks on the Tibor and London Interbank Offered Rate Panel, including Deutsche Bank (DB), JPMorgan (JPM), and Mizuho Bank, conspired together to rig the rates through the submission of estimates that they had agreed upon.

A district court judge dismissed the antitrust, vicarious liability, and unjust enrichment allegations but allowed for the claims accusing the banks of violating the Commodity Exchange Act through price manipulation. Last year, the judge dismissed ICAP PLC (IAP), Resona Bank Ltd., and Mizuho as defendants of the case after finding that they and the markets operator lacked sufficient contact with the Second Circuit or the U.S. Laydon was then allowed to add Tullet Prebon PLC (TLPR), Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LYG), ICAP Europe LTD., and Martin Brokers UK Ltd. as defendants. In an amendment to the complaint, Laydon said he was asserting antitrust, CEA, RICO, unjust enrichment, and vicarious liability claims against the added defendants.

The second lawsuit also names several banks as defendant. Sonterra Capital Master Fund ltd. is claiming that HSBC and others manipulated the Tibor, Yen Libor, and derivatives that are Euroyen-based.

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U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority is barring Paul White, an ex-Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) trader, for misconduct involving the rigging of the London interbank offered rate. The FCA said that White behaved with recknlessness and was not in integrity when he would submit information about Libor related to the Swiss frank and the Japanese yen.

According to the British regulator, from 5/07 to 11/10, White improperly considered requests that came from derivatives traders at two banks when issuing Libor submissions. If any of the information he turned in wasn’t been accurate, this could have changed the rate for Libor in a manner benefitting White and others. In a news release, the FCA said that White had a duty to make sure his submissions were correct and not influenced by his own financial interests or the interests of others.

The regulator provided a transcript that included electronic messages between a broker at another bank and White. The messages indicated that they worked together to rig Libor.

White was the recipient of 68 communications from RBS derivatives traders for Libor submissions. In the exchanges, said the FCA, the traders sought to help their trading positions. There was also a Swiss franc trader that purportedly made such requests verbally for twenty months. White also received requests from a yen derivatives trader who did not work at the firm.

The FCA’s final notice states that White claims that although he took into account trading positions when issuing Libor submissions, his entries were always “correct” and within a range that was acceptable according Libor’s definition. White claimed that he engaged in seemingly improper communications only to “appease.” FCA, however, rejects White’s account of what happened. Yet despite imposing an industry bar against him, the regulator waived what could have been a $354,000 fine because White is undergoing financial difficulties.

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A U.S. district court judge has sentenced two former Rabobank bankers to time in prison for their involvement in rigging the London interbank offered rate. Anthony Allen received a two-year prison term and Anthony Conti was sentenced to a year and a day.

Conti and Allen were convicted by a jury in last year. Prosecutors accused them of conspiring to turn in fake rates for calculating Libor, which is based on submissions from over a dozen banks. They believed the two bankers sought to help other Rabobank traders make more money on trades. Meantime, their defense lawyers contended that the men’s submission to Libor were made in good faith.

Allen was the worldwide head of liquidity and finance at Rabobank and the supervisor of Conti, who was a senior money markets trader who made submissions to Libor daily. Libor plays a key role in determining the borrowing costs for trillions of dollars in loans.

The U.S. Justice Department has criminally charged 11 other individuals in its probe into Libor rigging. Four of them, three of them who were traders at Rabobank, have entered guilty pleas.

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UBS to Pay $33M to NCUA Related to MBS Sold to Credit Unions
UBS AG (UBS) will pay $33 million to resolve a lawsuit filed by the National Credit Union Administration accusing the bank of selling toxic mortgage-backed securities to credit unions. The case revolves around MBS that were underwritten and sold by UBS. The securities were purchased by Members United Corporate Federal Credit Union and Southwest Corporate Federal Credit Union for almost $432.4M from ’06 to ’07.

NCUA alleged that offering documents for the securities sold included untrue statements claiming that the loans were originated in a manner that abided by underwriting guidelines when, in fact, the loans’ originators had “systematically abandoned” said guidelines. The false statements made the securities riskier than what was represented to the credit unions. Eventually, the MBS failed, resulting in substantial losses.

To date, NUCA has recovered almost $2.46B from banks over MBS sales that occurred prior to the 2008 financial crisis.

US, UK Regulators May Pursue More Banks Over Libor
According to the The Wall Street Journal, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the UK Financial Conduct Authority are working on pressing the last civil charges against a number of banks for alleged rigging of the London interbank offered rate. LIBOR is the benchmark that underpins interest rates on trillions of dollars of financial contracts around the globe.

Sources tell WSJ that the firms under scrutiny include Citigroup (C), J.P. Morgan Chase & Co (JPM)., and HSBC Holdings (HSBC)—although the FCA has already dismissed its probe into J.P. Morgan.

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