A roughly $790 million settlement deal over LIBOR allegations
between US authorities and
Royal Bank of Scotland could be completed within the next two weeks, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing “people briefed on the negotiations”.
The settlement would result in a unit of RBS - possibly one based in Asia - pleading guilty to criminal charges, in addition to paying a penalty, the report said. RBS declined to comment on the WSJ article when contacted by this publication. However, a spokesperson said: “Discussions with various authorities in relation to LIBOR setting are ongoing. We continue to cooperate fully with their investigations.”
Meanwhile, RBS executives are “resisting any guilty plea” in fear that it could result in clients cutting off activity with the bank and increased exposure to costly litigation, some of the people reportedly said. If the settlement does go ahead, RBS could be the third bank to settle allegations related to the LIBOR-rigging affair.
In June of last year, Barclays agreed to pay $450 million to settle such claims, while its high-profile chief executive Bob Diamond, among other senior figures, resigned. More recently, last month UBS agreed to pay around SFr1.4 billion (around $1.53 billion) in fines and related payments to the US, Swiss and UK authorities to settle investigations that Switzerland’s largest bank manipulated interbank interest rates.
“As the RBS settlement approaches, top executives at some of the dozen or so other banks that remain under investigation recently have held informal talks about trying to forge a multi-bank resolution to the probes, according to executives involved in the discussions,” the WSJ reported. “Those talks are at an early stage, haven't included any regulators and might lead nowhere, the executives said.”
The report highlighted that among the other banks likely to face regulatory action for involvement in attempted rate-rigging is Deutsche Bank, which has reportedly said that it is in the process of reviewing its involvement in the scandal.