U.S., Britainpenalize Royal Bank of Scotland

By Kevin G. Hall

McClatchy Newspapers

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6 2013 8:29 p.m. MST

WASHINGTON (MCT) — U.S. and British regulators announced a $612 million settlement Wednesday with Royal Bank of Scotland, with the global bank acknowledging that it had manipulated key benchmark interest rates to benefit its trading positions in unregulated markets.

The action against the bank by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission brought the penalties it's levied against global banks in the ongoing scandal over the manipulation of interest rates to $1.2 billion. Royal Bank of Scotland agreed Wednesday to pay the commission $325 million, the Justice Department $150 million and Britain's Financial Services Authority $137.1 million. Global banks have now paid the Justice Department more than $810 million in the investigation.

As part of the settlement, the bank's subsidiary RBS Securities Japan Limited pleaded guilty to a charge of wire fraud with intent to defraud counterparties. The British government owns 80 percent of Royal Bank of Scotland, taking its stake in a rescue of the bank during the global financial crisis.

The probe grew out of a scandal that first involved Britain's Barclays PLC, which admitted in June that its traders manipulated the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, a benchmark interest rate collectively set by 18 global banks in London and used as a reference for trillions of dollars in loans across the globe in 10 major currencies.

Barclays agreed to penalties from U.S. and British regulators of about $450 million. The Swiss bank UBS settled with U.S., British and Swiss regulators in December for $1.5 billion.

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