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(Reuters) - Rabobank RABO.UL could face a near $1 billion fine next week from British and U.S. regulators looking to settle allegations that the Dutch lender helped manipulate the Libor and other benchmark interbank lending rates, the Financial Times reported, citing three people familiar with the matter.
This larger than anticipated penalty would be the second biggest payout by a financial institution since a sprawling global investigation into the rate-rigging scandal began in 2008. UBS UBSN.VX late last year paid a record fine of $1.5 billion.
Rabobank was previously expected to face a fine of between the 290 million pounds ($470.16 million) imposed on Barclays (BARC.L) and the $612 million deal struck by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L), according to a Bloomberg report from February that cited a source with knowledge of the investigation.
Cooperatively owned Rabobank made an unspecified provision in its first-half results for settling with regulators over the Libor rate scandal, when it reported a 14 percent drop in net profit to 1.1 billion euros ($1.52 billion), reflecting higher bad debts.
The settlement is also set to include an allegation in the United States of criminal wrongdoing against a former Rabobank trader, the FT reported on its website, citing a person familiar with the situation. (link.reuters.com/dus93v)
Rabobank, the second-largest Dutch financial group by assets, is set face regulators including Britain's Financial Conduct Authority, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Rabobank, the FCA and the CFTC declined to comment, while the Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
More than a dozen banks and brokerages are being investigated by regulators and anti-trust watchdogs worldwide for manipulating benchmark rates such as Libor and Euribor, which are used to price trillions of dollars of products from derivatives to credit cards.
Rabobank, which is in the midst of sweeping job cuts, branch closures and reductions in remuneration packages, was one of the few Dutch financial services groups to avoid nationalisation or a state bail-out in the 2008 financial crisis.
Reporting by Richa Naidu in Bangalore