News Column

EU Regulators May Accuse Banks of Rigging Euribor Rates

December 10, 2012

European Union regulators are expected to accuse several banks of attempting to manipulate a crucial interbank lending rate, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

At least a dozen banks are under investigation for trying to rig the euro interbank offered rate, or Euribor, the newspaper reported.

Those banks are said to include France's Credit Agricole and Societe Generale, Britain's HSBC and Germany's Deutsche Bank.

The European Commission, which is conducting an investigation into financial derivatives based on Euribor, declined to comment on the Wall Street Journal report.

"The investigation goes on ... It's an investigation that we consider to be a priority," spokesman Antoine Colombani told journalists in Brussels, declining to name any banks involved.

The commission is also looking into the possibility of bringing forward legislative proposals next year that would regulate benchmark rates such as Euribor. That could include changing the oversight for Euribor, spokesman Stefaan De Rynck said.

The Euribor accusations follow a separate rate-rigging scandal earlier this year, in which some 20 banks were found to have colluded in order to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor.

Both Euribor and the more widely used Libor are used to set lending rates around the world. Some 40 banks are on the panel that set the daily Euribor rate.

Britain's Barclays banks was fined 290 million pounds (451 million dollars) by British and US regulators earlier this year for attempting to manipulate the Libor. The scandal led to the departure from the bank of long-term chief executive Bob Diamond, and chairman Marcus Agius.

Four of the banks under investigation in the Euribor probe were working with Barclays, which has already admitted to attempting to rig the rate, the paper said.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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