July 31 (Bloomberg) -- Barclays Plc offices in Milan were searched by Italian prosecutors who seized documents as part of a fraud and market-manipulation probe into banks’ roles in setting the Euribor benchmark interest rate.
Police obtained files dating from 2007 through 2012, including e-mails, Michele Ruggiero, a prosecutor in the city of Trani, said by phone today. Officials for Barclays in London declined to immediately comment.
Barclays, the U.K.’s second-largest bank, was fined a record 290 million pounds ($455 million) last month for attempting to rig the London interbank offered rate and Euribor, its equivalent in euros, to appear healthier during the financial crisis. U.K. fraud prosecutors yesterday said they will investigate the manipulation of Libor and other interest rates after deciding that existing British criminal law covers the conduct involved.
Italian consumer groups Adusbef and Federconsumatori, which filed a complaint earlier this month, estimated that the manipulation affected 2.5 million Italian households with mortgages tied to Euribor, costing them 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion), based on record 2008 Euribor rates.
Barclays Chief Executive Officer Robert Diamond, Chairman Marcus Agius and Chief Operating Officer Jerry Del Missier all stepped down following the fine and criticism from the U.K. regulator. Their departures were followed by Alison Carnwath, head of the British bank’s remuneration committee, who stepped down on July 25.
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