Bloomberg News

French Market Regulator Chief Ready to Contribute to Libor Probe

July 26, 2012

France’s market regulator is ready to contribute to U.K. and U.S. investigations of interbank lending rate manipulation, said its new president Gerard Rameix.

“The prejudice is very important on the financial sector across the world. It’s not good for the image of London, but it goes far beyond,” Rameix, who took over as AMF chief today, said in a Paris interview with Bloomberg television. “We can contribute to investigations and we will fully collaborate.”

Confidence in the London interbank offered rate, a benchmark for $500 trillion of securities worldwide, was dented by Barclays Plc (BARC)’s admission that it submitted false rates. A probe by U.K. and U.S. authorities cost the London-based bank a record 290 million-pound ($449 million) fine and led to the ouster of Chief Executive Officer Robert Diamond.

Traders at Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), HSBC Holdings Plc and Credit Agricole SA (ACA) are being examined for possible links to a former Barclays’s employee, a person with knowledge of the matter said. UBS AG, Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Credit Suisse Group AG are among at least a dozen banks to disclose inquiries. Societe Generale SA (GLE) said that while it’s cooperating with authorities investigating interbank rates, “there has been no allegation of wrongdoing against the bank from regulators.”

“Confidence, which is the basis of the well-functioning of the markets, no longer really exists on the markets because of the crisis and of the numerous frauds,” Rameix said.

Parliamentary Hearings

Bankers and regulators may be called to appear at European Parliament hearings into the scandal engulfing interbank lending rates as lawmakers seek to prevent any repeat of such market manipulation.

France’s banking regulator ACP hasn’t opened an investigation, a Bank of France press officer, who asked not to be identified in line with the institution’s policy, said today.

Michel Barnier, the European Union’s financial-services chief, is preparing legal measures to punish illicit interest- rate fixing. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, is seeking to make abuse of interbank rates punishable by criminal sanctions.

To contact the reporters on this story: Helene Fouquet in Paris at hfouquet1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vidya Root at vroot@bloomberg.net


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