Articles Posted in LIBOR Scandal

To settle a private securities lawsuit in the US alleging Libor manipulation, HSBC Holdings Plc. (HSBC) has agreed to pay $100M. The bank is accused of conspiring to rig the London interbank offered rated (Libor) benchmark. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are a number “over-the-counter” investors, including Yale University and the Maryland city of Baltimore, that dealt directly with banks belonging to the panel tasked with determining the key benchmark interest rate. Now, a court will have to approve the preliminary settlement.

The plaintiffs sued 16 banks for alleged Libor rigging in 2011. According to their case, HSBC and other banks conspired together to submit artificially low borrowing costs so that they could appear more financially robust and increase earnings. These lower borrowing costs led to a lower Libor, which had an adverse effect on institutions and persons that invested in pension funds, money market funds, mutual funds, the bond market, a number of derivative products, and bank loan funds.

Libor is the benchmark used to establish rates on hundreds of trillions of dollars of transactions, including those involving credit cards, student loans, and mortgages. It also allows the banks to figure out what it would cost them to borrow from one another.

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In a preliminary settled reach in a private US antitrust lawsuit, Deutsche Bank AG (DB) will pay $240M to settle allegations that it conspired with other banks to rig the London interbank offered rate (Libor) benchmark. The plaintiffs in the Libor manipulation lawsuit are “over-the-counter” investors that engaged directly in transactions with banks belonging to the panel tasked with determining the key benchmark.

Banks use Libor to establish rates on mortgage, credit card, student loan, and other transactions, as well as to figure out how much it would cost to borrow from one another. Libor is expected to be phased out before 2022.

Despite settling, the German lender denied any wrongdoing. The settlement must still be approved by a court before it is final.

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In the US, HSBC Holdings Plc. will pay approximately $100M in penalties to settle a Department of Justice’s criminal probe into currency rate rigging—that’s a $63.1M fine and $38.4M in restitution. The bank’s deal is a three-year deferred prosecution agreement, which means that no criminal charges will be brought as long as HSBC fulfills the terms. As part of the settlement, HSBC will help the government with its criminal probe of individuals who may have played a part in the rate manipulation and enhance its internal controls.

The currency rate rigging allegations involved at least two ex-HBSC employees, including Mark Johnson, the ex-worldwide head of its foreign exchange trading and Stuart Scott, the ex-head of its European currency trading. Johnson has already been convicted in the front-running case involving a $3.5B trade by client Cairn Energy Plc. He is scheduled for sentencing next month. Scott is currently fighting a court order in the UK so as to avoid extradition back to the US to face the criminal charges against hm.

Both men are accused of buying British pounds leading up to the Cairn Energy trade, with the expectation that their purchases, and the one by Cairn Energy, would cause the pound’s price to go up. After the Cairn Energy order went through and the value of their pounds rose, the two men sold their currency at a profit.

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Meyers Associates is Fined by FINRA Over Misleading Sales Literature
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is ordering Meyers Associates, now called Windsor Street Capital, to pay a $75K fine for a number of securities violations, including sending sales literature that was misleading via email and not supervising books and records preparations. The firm’s principal, Bruce Meyers, is now barred from working as a firm supervisor or principal.

According to the regulator’s National Adjudicatory Council, Meyers Association has been named in 16 disciplinary actions this century. It paid about $390K in sanctions for different issues, including issuing false statements, supervisory deficiencies, omissions related to a securities offering, improper review of emails, inadequate maintenance of books and records, and not reporting customer complaints in a timely manner. Last year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission turned down Meyers’ appeal of a FINRA securities ruling that prevented him from serving as firm CEO.

Ex-RBS Trader Banned and Fined £250,000 for Manipulating Libor
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has banned ex-Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) trader Neil Danzinger from the securities industry and ordered him to pay a $338,000 over allegations that he rigged the London interbank offered rate (Libor). According to the regulator, Danziger, a former RBS interest rate derivatives trader, “routinely” asked RBS Libor submitters to modify the rate to benefit his trading positions. He also allegedly factored in certain trading positions when serving as a submitter and on more than one occasion got a broker to help him to rig other banks’ yen Libor submissions.

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Deutsche Bank AG (DB) has settled with 45 US states and will now pay $220M to resolve allegations that it engaged in rigging the London Interbank Offered (LIBOR) rate and other benchmark interest rates. According to the settlement, the bank admitted that its managers and traders took part in benchmark rigging from ’05 to ’09.

A press release issued by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman states that Deutsche Bank “acted unlawfully,” including that:

· The bank defrauded counterparties when it didn’t disclose that it was making LIBOR submissions that were “false or misleading.”

· Its traders tried to influence the LIBOR submissions of other banks so that Deutsche Bank would benefit.

· The bank knew that other banks were rigging LIBOR, too.

· Deutsche Bank didn’t disclose that the other banks’ LIBOR submissions were not accurate reflections of their borrowing rates or that the published rates were not accurate to the submitting banks’ real borrowing costs.

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In the UK, the US government is suing several banks over Libor rigging allegations in High Court. The defendants in the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) manipulation lawsuit include Deutsche Bank (DB), Barclays (BARC), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Lloyds Banking Group, UBS (UBS), Rabobank (RABO), and several other banks, in addition to the British Bankers Association.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s claim, the banks would engage in lowballing by turning in estimates that were artificially low when participating in the daily process to set the Libor rate. The US agency said that it is suing for 39 US banks, which were once collectively valued at over $400M, that failed after they depended on the US dollar denominated-Libor variant for derivative and other transactions. FDIC contends that the inaccurate figures submitted by the European banks caused the US banks to sustain massive losses.

It believes that if the Libor rate had been set honestly, the benchmark’s rate would would have been higher and these banks would have achieved higher prices and larger returns on different mortgages, loans, options, swaps, and other Libor-tied agreements. Instead, the plaintiffs allegedly colluded together to keep borrowing rates down to make it appear as if the banks were in more robust financial health than what was actual. The FDIC argued that the joint efforts of the banks and the British Bankers Association resulted in the “sustained and material suppression of Libor” from August 2007 through at least 2009.

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Citigroup to Pay Plaintiffs Suing Over Libor Rigging

Citigroup Inc. (C) will resolve a private US antitrust lawsuit alleging Libor manipulation by paying plaintiffs $130M. The litigation was brought by “over-the-counter” investors who engaged in direct transactions with banks that belonged to the panel that determines London Interbank Offered Rate.

As part of the proposed preliminary settlement, the bank will pay the money to a fund for future class members. It also will cooperate with the lawsuits brought against other banks also accused of involvement in Libor rigging. Despite settling the case, however, Citigroup is not admitting or denying any wrongdoing.

According to Andrew Bailey, the head of the UK Financial Conduct Authority, the London interbank offered rate (Libor) will be scrapped by the end of 2021. The British regulator intends to phase out the key interest benchmark, which is the underlying rate for over $350 trillion dollars of financial products, and bring in new measures that are more connected with the lending market.

One potential replacement reportedly under consideration is contracts with the Sterling Overnight Index Average, also known as Sonio. This alternative derivatives reference rate is almost free of risks and deals with overnight funding rates in the unsecured sterling market. Another option being explored is the Treasuries repo rate, which is tied to the cost of borrowing money that has been secured against US government debt.

Libor is set by 20 banks that every day turn in the rates at which they are ready to lend to other banks at different maturities and in five currencies over certain time periods. It has a global impact. Libor is used for setting the price that businesses should pay for loans and people should pay for mortgages. It also is a factor in derivative pricing.

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Deutsche Bank Settle Investor Lawsuit Over Euribor Rigging
Deutsche Bank AG (DB) has agreed to pay $170M to resolve an investor fraud lawsuit accusing the German lender of conspiring with other banks to rig Euribor and other derivatives. Euribor is the European Interbank Offered Rate benchmark and the euro-denomination equivalent of Libor, which is the London Interbank Offered Rate.

FrontPoint Australian Opportunities Trust and the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) are two of the plaintiffs in the Euribor rigging case against Deutsche Bank. However, the bank, despite settling, is not denying or admitting to wrongdoing. It claims to have decided to resolve the case to avoid more lawsuits and further costs.

A preliminary settlement has been submitted in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Now, a judge must approve the deal.

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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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