Tuesday 24 October 2017

RBS facing £150m fine in Libor scandal

Steve Slater

ROYAL Bank of Scotland could face a hefty fine from the same interest rate rigging scandal that has hammered Barclays this week and left its boss Bob Diamond fighting for his job.

Taxpayer-backed RBS is set to be fined about £150m for participating in market manipulation offences similar to those engaged in by Barclays, it was reported yesterday.

RBS said it, like many others, is continuing to co-operate with regulators on the ongoing investigation. Any resolution of its case is months away, a person familiar with the matter said.

Britain's banking woes deepened yesterday as the Financial Services Authority (FSA) said it had settled with four banks -- Barclays, RBS, HSBC and Lloyds -- after finding evidence they mis-sold products to protect small businesses against a rise in interest rates.

Compensation could run into the hundreds of millions of pounds, lawyers have said, although Lloyds said the cost for it would not be material.

The FSA said from 2001 to date, banks sold around 28,000 interest rate protection products to customers, although it did not did not say how much it would cost the banks.

A string of mis-selling cases has rocked the financial services industry for 20 years and banks are already likely to pay about £9bn in compensation for mis-selling loan insurance.

The Libor mis-selling scandal is expected to draw in many banks globally, but Diamond has found himself first in the firing line after US and British authorities fined Barclays $450m on Wednesday for manipulating the London interbank offer rate (Libor), which underpins some $360 trillion of loans and financial transactions around the world.

Prime Minister David Cameron said Diamond -- who was running the investment banking arm Barclays Capital when the rigging occurred in 2005-2009 -- and other bosses had some "big questions to answer". Britain also called in the fraud squad.

"Politicians have already been baying for blood and calling for the head of Bob Diamond, especially as he was in charge at BarCap at the time," said Stephen Peak, manager of the Henderson UK Alpha and European Absolute Return funds and a shareholder in the bank.

"We feel that the Barclays board will instinctively wish to resist this, as Diamond is clearly the architect and leading light of Barclays, but feel that the pressure may be too great."

Diamond admitted in an open letter to Britain's Treasury Select Committee that the bank engaged in "inappropriate behaviour" to lower submissions. (Reuters)

Barclays shares fell another 1.7pc yesterday a day after they dropped 16pc. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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