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UBS fined £940mn over Libor rigging

Fine split between US, UK and Swiss regulators

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Swiss bank UBS has been fined a total of £940 million (US$1.5 billion) by US, UK and Swiss regulators for its part in the attempt to manipulate the Libor lending rate.

UBS also admitted to manipulating Euribor and Tibor; the equivalent interest rate benchmarks for lending set in the Eurozone and Japan.

Giving details on Wednesday, the Swiss bank said it has agreed to pay £740 million (US$1.2 billion) in fines to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, £160 million to the UK Financial Services Authority and £40 million (CHF59 million) to Switzerland's Financial Market Supervisory Authority.

According to the FSA, misconduct at UBS was extensive and widespread and involved at least 45 executives. It would have fined UBS the sum of £200 million, but gave the bank a 20 percent discount because it co-operated. Nonetheless, the £160 million fine was still the largest ever imposed by the UK financial watchdog.  

"At least 2,000 requests for inappropriate submissions were documented – an unquantifiable number of oral requests, which by their nature would not be documented, were also made. Manipulation was also discussed in internal open chat forums and group emails, and was widely known," the FSA said.

The UK watchdog added manipulation was so common that every single Libor submission by UBS between 2005 and 2010 may have been rigged.

In a statement, UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti, said, "We deeply regret this inappropriate and unethical behaviour. No amount of profit is more important than the reputation of this firm, and we are committed to doing business with integrity."

Apart from Barclays and UBS, around a dozen major banks are presently under investigation in various global jurisdictions over the Libor scandal.


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