FSA fine UBS £160m over Libor

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Swiss bank UBS has been fined a record £160m in relation to its handling of the Libor interbank lending rate

The fine – which is the largest ever imposed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) – involves a “significant number of employees” and occurred over several years in a number of countries.

The report found that the “extensive and widespread” misconduct between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2010 included UBS’s traders routinely making requests to the individuals at UBS responsible for determining its Libor and Euribor submissions to adjust their submissions to benefit the traders’ trading positions.

Traders also colluded with interdealer brokers in co-ordinated attempts to influence Japanese Yen Libor submissions made by other banks.

In addition, corrupt brokers were rewarded with payments for efforts to manipulate the Libor submissions of panel banks.

The FSA found that at least 2,000 requests for inappropriate submissions were recorded and “an unquantifiable number of oral requests.”

The UBS misconduct spread across countries including Japan, Switzerland, the UK and the USA.

Tracey McDermott, FSA director of enforcement and financial crime, said the findings “do not make for pretty reading” as brokers “manipulated UBS’s submissions in order to benefit their own positions and to protect UBS’s reputation, showing a total disregard for the millions of market participants around the world who were also affected by Libor and Euribor.”

McDermott added that, “UBS’s misconduct was all the more serious because of the orchestrated attempts to manipulate the Japanese Yen Libor submissions of other banks, as well as its own, and the collusion with interdealer brokers and other panel banks in coordinated efforts to manipulate the fix. “

Last week three men were arrested by the City of London Police in connection with the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation into the manipulation of Libor.

 

Raymond Doherty

 

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