UBS faces $1 billion fine for Libor rigging: source

Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:03am EST
 
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By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - Swiss bank UBS UBSN.VX is expected to pay about $1 billion to settle charges of rigging the Libor interest rate benchmark, according to a person familiar with the situation, making it the second major bank to be officially ensnared by the global scandal.

The announcement could come as early as Monday, this person said.

Such a penalty, more than double the $450 million fine levied on British bank Barclays BARC.L in June for related conduct, indicates the scope of the misconduct by UBS could dwarf that exposed by Barclays' settlement.

Barclays in June admitted it improperly took trading positions into account when reporting interest rates used to calculate the Libor benchmark, touching off a firestorm that forced its chairman and chief executive to quit.

The settlement also prompted a political and public backlash against standards in banking across Europe and the United States.

The Libor benchmarks are used for trillions of dollars worth of loans around the world. Tiny shifts in the rate, compiled from daily polls of bankers, could benefit dealers in complex products.

While details in the Barclays settlement showed traders brazenly gaming the system, the expected size of the UBS settlement indicates that Barclays may prove to be far from the worst offender and that other settlements may also be larger than Barclays'. Overall, more than a dozen banks have been caught in the international inquiry.

UBS declined to comment. The agencies expected to be involved in the settlement, including Britain's Financial Services Authority and the U.S. Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission all declined to comment.   Continued...

 
The UBS logo is seen at the UBS 40th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference in New York, December 5, 2012. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri