EU May Accuse Banks of Manipulating Euribor Rates, WSJ Reports

The European Union may shortly accuse a number of banks of allegedly attempting to collude in setting the euro interbank offered rate, or Euribor, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people briefed on the investigation.

At least a dozen banks are being probed, and investigators are reviewing whether Credit Agricole SA (ACA), Societe Generale SA (GLE), HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) and Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) worked with Barclays Plc (BARC) to manipulate Euribor, the newspaper said. Barclays has already acknowledged its role, while the other four banks declined to comment, the WSJ reported.

Regulators in markets including the U.S. and U.K. will probably press more banks to admit their attempts to rig the rate, the newspaper said. Efforts by the banks to influence Euribor by submitting incorrect data and collaborating with each other were widespread, the Journal reported, citing documents and interviews with banking and regulatory officials.

Telephone calls and e-mails seeking comment from Joyce Lam, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Credit Agricole, and Peggy Chung, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Societe Generale, went unanswered. Gareth Hewett, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for HSBC, and Michael West, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for Deutsche Bank, also didn’t reply to calls or e-mails seeking comment.

British regulators this year said they’d found at least 58 instances of Barclays trying to rig the Euribor rate between 2005 and 2009, the newspaper said. Traders at the U.K. lender tried to coordinate through e-mails and instant messages with at least four other banks, which haven’t been named by regulators, the newspaper said.

Some banks that submitted data used to set Euribor also had trading operations that were speculating on small movements in the rate, the Journal reported.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chitra Somayaji in Hong Kong at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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