Bloomberg News

UBS Says Swiss Regulator Granted Immunity in Libor Investigation

February 07, 2012

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- UBS AG said it was given immunity from a second antitrust regulator as part of an investigation into whether the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, was manipulated.

The bank has conditional immunity from the Swiss Competition Commission regarding submissions for Yen Libor, Euroyen Tokyo Interbank Offered Rate, or Tibor, and Swiss franc Libor rates, the bank said in a regulatory filing today. UBS was granted similar immunity by the U.S. Department of Justice in regards to Yen Libor and Euroyen Tibor because it is cooperating with the probe, the Zurich-based bank said last year.

UBS won’t be prosecuted, fined, or face other sanctions from the Swiss regulator if it continues to cooperate, it said. The regulator said last week that it was investigating 12 banks, including UBS and Credit Suisse Group AG, over how the benchmark for about $350 trillion of financial products is set.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Justice Department, Japan’s Financial Supervisory Agency and the U.K. Financial Services Authority are investigating whether there were attempts to manipulate Libor rates. European Union antitrust regulators are also examining Libor rates.

“In general, we’ve been checking internal controls on each bank,” said Toshiharu Mashita, a spokesman at Japan’s Financial Services Agency. “We will take appropriate actions if we see any problems.”

Mashita declined to comment on reports the agency is conducting a Tibor investigation.

The leniency agreements don’t bar other government agencies from prosecuting or suing them. Libor is the rate of interest at which banks borrow funds from other banks in the London market.

Libor Survey

Libor is derived from a survey of banks conducted each day on behalf of the British Bankers’ Association in London. The lenders are asked how much it would cost them to borrow from each other for 15 different periods, from overnight to one year, in currencies including dollars, euros, yen and Swiss francs. After a predetermined number of quotes are excluded, those remaining are averaged and published for each currency by the BBA before noon.

--With assistance from Shingo Kawamoto in Tokyo and Elena Logutenkova in Zurich. Editor: Anthony Aarons, Stephen Taylor

To contact the reporter on this story: Lindsay Fortado in London at lfortado@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net; Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net


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