Mitsubishi UFJ Suspends Two London Traders on Libor Probe

Mitsubishi UFJ Said to Suspend Two London Traders on Libor Probe
A customer enters a branch of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in Tokyo. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s biggest publicly traded bank, said it suspended two London-based traders as investigators probe the suspected manipulation of benchmark interest rates.

The suspension isn’t related to their work at the Japanese bank, Hironori Imafuku, a Tokyo-based spokesman, said by telephone today. Lending unit Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. asked the employees to stand by at home, he said.

Derivatives traders Christian Schluep and Paul Robson have been suspended from the bank, said a person briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified. The two formerly worked at Dutch lender Rabobank, one of at least 12 banks being probed by regulators over allegations they rigged the London and euro interbank offered rates, the person said.

Schluep and Robson didn’t return messages left at their office. Schluep didn’t return a message sent via LinkedIn. Imafuku of Mitsubishi UFJ declined to disclose the names of the two traders, saying the bank doesn’t comment on individuals.

Robson joined Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi in August 2009 after eight years at Rabobank, according to the U.K. Financial Services Authority register. Schluep joined the lender a year later. Before that, he worked at Rabobank from December 2003 until October 2008. Both traders are listed as inactive since July 4, the register shows.

Record Fine

Barclays Plc, the U.K.’s second-largest bank by assets, was fined a record $451 million by U.K. and U.S. regulators last month for attempting to fix Libor and Euribor. Traders tried to rig the rate to boost profits while managers instructed rate-setters to lowball their submissions to avoid the perception the lender was under stress during the crisis, regulators said.

Libor is determined by a daily poll that asks banks to estimate how much it would cost them to borrow from each other for different time-frames and in different currencies. Rabobank last month withdrew from the panels that set Libor in yen, the Canadian dollar, the Swiss franc, the Danish krone and the Swedish krona. It continues to contribute toward Libor in U.S. dollars, euros and pounds.

“We remain a member of the panels to which we have significant funding operations,” said Hendrik Jan Eijpe, a spokesman for Rabobank. He declined to comment on the two traders.

Mitsubishi UFJ is responding cooperatively to authorities’ investigations relating to Libor, Imafuku said.

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