27 Feb 2014 11:50am

Banker warned over rate-fixing

The Financial Conduct Authority has issued a warning to a banker for influencing interest rate benchmark submissions

Over a period of nearly two years, the individual, who was employed at a bank, made requests to the bank’s interest rate benchmark submitters, in an attempt to influence them. It alleges they colluded with a trader at another bank, by making interest rate benchmark submissions, which took into account requests made by him, according to the FCA.

The watchdog is not identifying the individual at this stage.

Martin Wheatley, FCA chief, recently told the Treasury Select Committee, that the misconduct allegations surrounding foreign exchange trading could be as damaging as Libor. Last October, the FCA said it had joined other international regulators in scrutinising firms over potential manipulation of the forex market.

Wheatley said the watchdog is investigating a range of benchmark rates operating in London, in addition to forex.

Earlier this month the Serious Fraud Office has charged three former Barclays bankers over Libor. It is alleged Peter Charles Johnson, Jonathan James Mathew and Stylianos Contogoulas conspired to defraud between 1 June 2005 and 31 August 2007 in relation to the interest-rate fixing scandal.

The scandal hit the headlines in the summer of 2012 when Barclays Bank was fined £290m by the FSA, the US Department of Justice and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission over serious and widespread misconduct relating to Libor and the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor). Since then several major banks, including RBS, Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale, Credit Agricole, HSBC, JPMorgan, UBS and Citigroup have been fined billions by US and UK regulators.

Separately today the FCA announced they have banned Arnold Eber, the former chief executive of CIB Partners, from performing any function in relation to any regulated activity in the financial services industry. The FCA found that Eber lacked integrity, and his conduct gave the misleading impression that certain bonds were soundly backed assets when he had grave concerns about their viability. He also failed to inform the FCA of these concerns.

Raymond Doherty


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