Rate-Rigging Proof Is ‘Quite Telling,’ Almunia Tells MLex

European Union antitrust officials have gathered “quite telling” evidence in their probes related to the rigging of interbank lending rates, Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in an interview with MLex.

“The evidence we have collected is quite telling so I am pretty sure this investigation will not be closed without results,” Almunia told MLex today. Antoine Colombani, a spokesman for Almunia, confirmed the comments in an e-mail.

Confidence in Libor, a benchmark for financial products valued at $360 trillion worldwide, has been shaken by Barclays Plc’s admission that it submitted false rates. Robert Diamond, who resigned as London-based Barclays’s chief executive officer after the bank was fined 290 million pounds ($449 million), told British lawmakers this month that other banks also lowballed Libor submissions.

Almunia has previously said that regulators are investigating the markets for derivatives linked to the euro, London and Tokyo interbank lending rates.

Libor, the London interbank offered rate, is determined by a daily poll carried out on behalf of the British Bankers’ Association that asks banks to estimate how much it would cost to borrow from each other for different periods and in different currencies. Similarly, Euribor, the euro equivalent, is overseen by the European Banking Federation in Brussels.

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