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Libor scandal probes spread


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Libor scandal probes spread

Britain’s anti-fraud investigators are to look into the Libor interest rate-rigging scandal.

The Serious Fraud Office probe comes after Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond resigned over his bank’s role in the manipulation of the inter-bank lending rate.

The SFO has said it will decide within a month whether to bring criminal charges against Barclays and other banks.

Barclays was fined nearly 370 million euros by US and British authorities, becoming the first bank to settle in an investigation that is looking at more than a dozen other banks and submissions they made for calculating Libor rates.

Deutsche Bank

Reuters reported on Friday that the German markets regulator BaFin has launched an investigation in possible Libor wrong doing at Deutsche Bank.

The German regulator declined to comment specifically on whether it was probing Deutsche Bank, but said it was in looking into suspected manipulation of Libor rates by banks.

“We are making use of our entire spectrum of regulatory instruments, so far as this is necessary,” a spokesman said.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment but referred to its quarterly report which said the bank has received various subpoenas and requests for information from certain regulators and governmental entities in the United States and Europe, in connection with setting interbank offered rates for various currencies.

Reform

The scandal is likely to force regulators to reform the way Libor rates are set making it more transparent.

But many market participants believe any changes would be a compromise rather than a solution to fully restore the reputation of what has been called the world’s most important financial instrument.

Libor rates are used in hundreds of trillions of euros worth of financial contracts, ranging from credit cards to complicated derivatives transactions.

Those who use the system say it would be almost impossible to replace it quickly with another rate because of the risk of financial and legal chaos.

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