Canada Libor investigators escalate dispute with RBS

Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:21pm EST
 
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By Louise Egan

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian agency investigating whether banks manipulated a key global interest rates accused Royal Bank of Scotland Group RBS.L on Wednesday of failing to cooperate with its probe and of making misleading statements about it.

Escalating a dispute over the Canadian Competition Bureau's request for internal documents, the Ottawa-based agency said RBS was not cooperating fully, as the bank claimed, with the probe into possible collusion in setting the yen Libor rate.

"The suggestion that the RBS Group is 'co-operating fully' with the bureau is false," the federal agency said in a statement on its website.

RBS said it has challenged the Canadian investigators' methods for obtaining information due to confidentiality concerns, but is willing to find alternative ways of turning over the documents.

"It is simply not accurate to imply that we do not want to cooperate with the Canadian Competition Bureau," the bank said in a statement.

When asked why the bureau took the unusual step of going public with its spat with the bank, a spokesman said it felt compelled to react after seeing media reports of the RBS statement, included in its quarterly earnings report.

"We take misleading statements regarding our investigations very seriously, so in this case we did not hesitate to release a statement, to take the appropriate action to correct them," said Phil Norris, the spokesman.

More than a dozen banks are being probed in connection with fixing the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor). U.S. and UK authorities have also been investigating RBS' possible role in any wrongdoing.   Continued...

 
A flag flies over the former headquarters and registered office of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in Edinburgh, Scotland March 29, 2012. REUTERS/David Moir