Articles Posted in LIBOR Scandal

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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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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