Traders influenced LIBOR rates, says Canada regulator: report

Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:52pm EST
 

(Reuters) - A group of traders and brokers had successfully managed to manipulate key interbank lending rates that affect loans around the world, one of the banks being investigated has told Canadian regulators, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Canada's Competition Bureau said in a court filing in Ottawa that a bank it did not identify has told the agency's investigators that people involved "were able to move" interest rates, the paper said.

The "cooperating party" is Swiss bank UBS AG (UBSN.VX: Quote), the WSJ said, citing people familiar with the situation.

"We don't comment on media speculation," UBS spokesman Peter McKillop told Reuters.

UBS has said earlier that it has been granted some immunity by Switzerland's antitrust authority in return for cooperating with its probe into the potential manipulation of LIBOR.

No banks or individuals have yet been charged with wrongdoing, the paper said.

The traders used emails and instant messages to tell each other whether they wanted "to see a higher or lower yen Libor (rate) to aid their trading position(s)," the paper said, citing a court filing.

The Competition Bureau said late on Monday that is investigating certain financial firms as part of a widening global probe into how banks set key interbank lending rates.

Regulators since late 2010 have been investigating banks that help set interbank lending rates known as LIBOR and TIBOR in London and Tokyo, which are used to set interest rates on hundreds of trillions of dollars of securities.

More than a dozen traders and brokers in London and Asia have been fired, suspended or put on leave as part of the probe, the Financial Times reported last week.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad; Editing by Ramya Venugopal)