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June 7, 2013

Criminal Cases Loom in Rate Rigging

“U.S. and British authorities are preparing to bring criminal charges against former employees of Barclays PLC for their alleged roles trying to manipulate benchmark interest rates, according to people familiar with the plans, marking an escalation of a global investigation now entering its sixth year.

The charges are likely to be filed this summer, these people said, roughly a year after the big British bank became the first institution to settle over allegations that it attempted to rig the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, and other widely used financial benchmarks. The people cautioned that the plans aren’t finalized and could be delayed or modified.

The planned criminal cases indicate that government investigations into Libor manipulation, which have been under way since 2008 and until now have targeted mostly institutions rather than individuals, are moving into a new phase. So far, U.S. authorities have filed charges against two individuals. British prosecutors haven’t charged anyone. Units of two banks—UBS AG and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC—pleaded guilty to U.S. criminal charges as part of rate-manipulation settlements.

It isn’t clear which former Barclays employees are likely to face charges, or what the charges would be. A Barclays spokesman declined to comment.”

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Read the full Wall Street Journal article here

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