According to a report from Foxbusiness (VIA the WSJ), nine more banks have received subpoenas related to widespread interest-rate manipulation by banks.
The case, which is now being jointly investigated by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, could result in civil enforcement action for breaches of antitrust and fraud laws. With these new additions to list, the total number of subpoenas in the case jumps to 16.
The list now includes virtually every member of the panel that decided the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. Apart from the state prosecutors, the rate-rigging scandal is being probed by dozens of federal and other regulators across three continents. The rate manipulation is also being investigated in other states, like Massachusetts and Florida.
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The nine banks that received subpoenas in August and September are Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (TYO:8306) (NYSE:MTU), Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS), Lloyds Banking Group PLC (NYSE:LYG) (LSE:LLOY), Rabobank Groep NV, Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE:RY), Societe Generale SA (EPA:GLE) (PINK:SCGLY) S.A., Norinchukin Bank, and West LB AG, as per the report. Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) and Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) declined to comment on the subpoenas, while Rabobank and Royal Bank of Canada (RY) disclosed the subpoenas in their quarterly filings.
Lloyd’s has said it is assisting various regulators in their investigations into the setting of Libor. Royal Bank of Canada (RY) has said it is cooperating with regulators and found no evidence of collusion with other banks.
The LIBOR rate was widely used as benchmark; therefore it affects a lot of users, in a variety of ways, like investors, state agencies, and municipalities that invested in interest-rate swaps, which are tied to the rate, to help manage their debt costs. Also, the losses resulting from rate manipulation could have a direct impact on state finances. So, attorneys-general are advancing their investigations on numerous fronts.
Following the investigations, Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) was fined $450 million by U.S. and U.K. regulators for its alleged involvement in the scandal. The deal caused political shockwaves and led to the resignation of the firm’s CEO, Robert Diamond, and its chairman, Marcus Agius.