Following the £290m fine ($453m) fine levied against Barclays in June for manipulating Libor and the subsequent departure of several key figures from its top table, the New York Times is now reporting that it is “every bank for itself” in the ongoing investigation.
In part, this stems from the act that, as part of its negotiations, Barclays offered the authorities “information on the multiyear scheme with Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Société Générale and Crédit Agricole, according to government and bank officials.”
“The Swiss bank UBS, which has a history of regulatory run-ins, has shared e-mails, instant messages and other information suggesting it had colluded with traders at Deutsche Bank, HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland to manipulate key interest rates, according to court documents and bank employees. In talks with authorities, HSBC is providing its own account of the activities, according to a lawyer briefed on the matter. Citigroup has also detailed rate manipulation with other banks.”
Prosecutors in the US are also looking into a number of individuals connected with the affair, including a former swaps trader in New York fired from Barclays in 2010 and another Barclays trader who “communicated with counterparts at Rabobank, the Dutch bank, about trading positions related to Euribor”.
The ongoing investigation includes more than 10 regulatory bodies as well as criminal prosecutors and it touches at least 20 different financial institutions worldwide. For audit teams working in financial services, the results of this investigation will influence the importance and influence of their role for the foreseeable future. Questions remain over who knew what, as well as the extent to which the senior executives were involved – for example, “based on its internal investigation, [Citibank] told regulators and its audit committee that neither its chief executive, Vikram S Pandit, nor its chief financial officer, John Gerspach, was implicated” – and internal audit may well hold the key.