News Column

Carney hits out at Lloyds over rate rigging

July 29, 2014

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continuing. In resp onse, the Lloyds chairman, Lord Blackwell, said: "This was truly shocking conduct, undertaken when the bank was on a lifeline of public support."

The Libor rigging scandal, first exposed by Barclays' pounds 290m fine two years ago, led to a public outcry and the creation of the parliamentary commission on banking standards. Mark Garnier, the Conservative MP who sits on the Treasury select committee, said: "This is, on the face of it, a deliberate action to defraud the taxpayer. We will need to look at what exactly has been going on. People will be very angry about it and rightly so."

The fines cover the period 2006 to 2009, before the current Lloyds boss, Antonio Horta-Osorio, took the helm. The FCA fine is likely to go to armed forces charities. The bank's results are due on Thursday and the chancellor, George Osborne, is keen to capitalise on positive news from the bank to signal the selloff of the rest of the taxpayers' stake before the election.

Four individuals at Bank of Scotland and Lloyds were involved in or knew about the repo fixing. Twelve were involved in or knew about rigging Libor when priced in sterling, US dollars and Japanese yen, where there was collusion with the Dutch bank Rabobank, which has already been fined for Libor rigging.

In total, 22 former and current employees either knew or were involved in rigging, seven of whom were suspended as the fine was announced yesterday.

The Libor fine also covers a period when Bank of Scotland, as part of HBOS, was being rescued by Lloyds. Bank of Scotland submitters to Libor were given direct instructions to ensure their rates did not appear too high, which might have indicated that the institution was in trouble.

But much of the focus was on the impact on the Bank's emergency funding scheme. Owen Watkins, barrister in the corporate team at Lewis Silkin, said: "This is effectively a fraud on the taxpayer as the SLS was a taxpayer-backed measure. Not only is this reputationally damaging for Lloyds, being at odds with the friendly brand image they are aiming for, it also raises questions as to whether its competitors might have been doing the same thing."

Libor has been overhauled since the furore caused by the fines on Barclays and others, including Royal Bank of Scotland.

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Source: Guardian (UK)

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