Articles Posted in LIBOR Scandal

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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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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