By: Lauren Saccone
The United States Congress and European officials are investigating a case of rate fixing that spans the globe and implicates over a dozen international banks. These banks are suspected of rigging the London interbank offered rate. By providing falsified data, the banks were able to manipulate the LIBOR rate. This crucial interest rate is worth trillions of dollars internationally, and a vital part of the world banking system.
Approximately 16 banks are suspected of interfering with fixing the rate back in 2008. Among those being investigated are Bank of America, Barclays, CITI Bank, JP Morgan, and others. Of the banks under suspicion, only Barclays has admitted to any wrongdoing. Experts believe that this confession will lead to the indiscretions of other banks.
Barclays CEO Bob Diamond has been forced to step down after confessing that he falsified interest rates. Other leading officials at Barclay’s are being interrogated and will doubtlessly lead to further resignations as the case develops.
Barclays has already suffered an economic blow for its indiscretion. US and British authorities have charged the company with $453 million for providing governments and customers with false data. This banking scandal could end up costing trillions of dollars and destroy what little faith people had left in the banking industry.
“Coming on top of the reckless and dishonest behavior that led to the 2008 financial collapse, the LIBOR manipulations should finally dispose of the conservative case for self-regulation by Wall Street,” wrote Robert Shapiro, former Undersecretary of Commerce of Economic Affairs, in his blog.
Further investigations are ongoing. Some of the banks involved, such as Bank of America, are also facing massive lawsuits for their LIBOR manipulation. Bank of America has refused to comment on the allegations, although other banks are cooperating with the authorities throughout the process.
[Pic via Flickr - forzaq8]