Barclays Bank Punished for Rate Fixing
$453 Million Dollars is the amount that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Department of Justice in the US and the Financial Services Authority in the UK have now fined Barclays for ‘fixing’ inter bank interest (London InterBank Offered Rate - LIBOR and EURIBOR) rates over a four year period between 2005 and 2009.
The CFTC said: "Barclays….attempted to manipulate and made false reports concerning both benchmark interest rates to benefit the bank's derivatives trading positions by either increasing its profits or minimizing its losses. The conduct occurred regularly and was pervasive."
The CFTC also says that after the start of the credit crunch in August 2007, all the way through to early 2009, Barclays made "artificially low…submissions" about the interest rate it was being forced to pay to borrow to "protect Barclays' reputation from negative market and media perceptions concerning Barclays' financial condition".
According to the CFTC this was “as a result of instructions from Barclays’ senior management”, which means Barclays was pretending that it could borrow more cheaply than was actually the case, to reassure its owners and creditors that lenders had more confidence in it than was true.
This fine is apparently just the tip of the iceberg, with many other banks and financial institutions implicated across Europe and the US. The FSA and CFTC quote emails written by Barclays' traders to their counterparts at these other banks, who were requesting help in rigging markets. The responses included "always happy to help", "for you, anything" and "done… for you big boy". About a dozen banks are being investigated as part of the Libor probe, including state-backed lenders Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland, as well as many of the largest US and European investment banks.Continued on the next page