Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Bank owner fined over interest rate rigging

By Holly Williams

Royal Bank of Scotland, which owns Ulster Bank, and Barclays are among seven banks that have been hit with total fines of around 99 million Swiss francs (£78m) for interest rate rigging after a four-year probe.

The Swiss Competition Commission - known as Comco - said a raft of banks ran cartels to influence rates dating as far back as 2005. In addition to RBS and Barclays, it fined US investment banking giants JP Morgan Chase & Co and Citigroup, the German group Deutsche Bank, French player Societe Generale and Swiss bank Credit Suisse.

It marks the latest in a long line of penalties for rate-rigging scandals that have come to light since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Several weeks ago, the European Commission announced fines totalling €485m (£409m) for HSBC, JPMorgan and Credit Agricole for the part they played in conspiring to rig interest rate derivatives.

Comco said taxpayer-backed RBS and JP Morgan ran a "bilateral cartel" to influence the Swiss franc Libor benchmark rate between 2008 and 2009.

RBS was given immunity from punishment over the cartel because it revealed its existence, while JP Morgan was fined 33.9 million Swiss francs (£26.8m).However, RBS was fined by Comco for its role in rigging other financial rates.

It is part of a group, alongside Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and JP Morgan, that will pay a total of 14.4 million Swiss francs (£11.4m) for colluding to influence the yen Libor rate and related yen derivatives between 2007 and 2010.

The commission is continuing a related investigation of banks and dealers including UK lenders Lloyds Banking Group and HSBC.

RBS and Barclays were among another group of banks fined 45.3 million Swiss francs (£35.8m) for manipulating the Euro Interbank Offered Rate, or Euribor.

Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale also took part in this cartel between 2005 and 2008, Comco announced when revealing the punishment.

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