Belfast Telegraph

Libor rate manipulator banned from financial services

By Ben Woods

A former Royal Bank of Scotland employee has been banned from working in financial services for "reckless" behaviour when making Libor submissions.

Watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), said Paul White's actions would have seen him hit with a £250,000 fine if he was not already facing "serious financial hardship".

It added that Mr White, who worked for RBS as a Japanese Yen and Swiss Franc Libor submitter, made "improper" Libor submissions between March 8, 2007 and November 24, 2010.

The watchdog revealed he had been contacted 68 times during that period by traders asking for submissions that would benefit their trading position. He also received weekly requests from a Swiss Franc derivatives trader who sat next to him.

The FCA said Mr White had taken these requests into account when submitting Libor rates.

It also found that he had considered requests from brokers on behalf of an external trader when making RBS's Libor submissions for Japanese Yen.

The FCA told how Mr White was asked by an external broker in June 2010 whether he "got a bit less emotion in the 3's fix (JPY) today?" He replied: "unchanged should be the call, u want higher?".

The broker said: "yah, if not a msve prob", with Mr White replying, "will c what we can do, maybe up a pip".

The FCA said it had handed the former RBS trader a warning notice on June 18, 2014, but action was halted due to an ongoing criminal investigation from the Serious Fraud Office into some of the bank's staff.

Mark Steward, the FCA's director of enforcement and market oversight, said Mr White's ban should reinforce the message that "serious failures will result in substantial penalties".

"As a Libor submitter, Mr White had an obligation to ensure the submissions he made were proper ones," it insisted, adding that he disregarded the "obvious risk" that his submission "might corrupt Libor's integrity."

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