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Rabobank Said to Be Close to Libor Probe Settlement Next Month

Sept. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Rabobank Groep may reach a settlement with regulators as soon as next month over claims the Dutch bank tried to manipulate benchmark interest rates, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Rabobank, the Netherlands’ biggest mortgage lender, is likely to pay a fine higher than the 290 million pounds ($466 million) levied on Barclays Plc in June 2012 and lower than the $612 million paid by Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, though it may be negotiated even below the Barclays fine, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

Rabobank, the only Dutch contributor to the London interbank offered rate, has had talks since at least 2011 with regulators including the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Department of Justice and the U.K. Financial Services Authority.

Europe’s biggest agricultural lender is next in line to settle probes into Libor, the benchmark for more than $300 trillion of securities, after ICAP Plc, the world’s largest broker of transactions between banks, was fined $88 million earlier this week. The settlement’s timing was reported earlier by the Financial Times.

Hendrik Jan Eijpe, a spokesman for the Utrecht-based lender, said the company is cooperating with the investigations and declined to comment on the status of the probes. Rabobank in August said it took a provision to settle probes into Libor, without elaborating the size of the charge, saying that “could seriously prejudice its position.”

The lender had previously said it received Libor-and Euribor-related subpoenas and information requests in nations including the Netherlands, U.K., U.S. and Japan.

“We aim for an integral conclusion of this file,” Rabobank Chairman Piet Moerland, who will step down next year, said last month, adding the charge reflects an estimated settlement amount for all probes.

Global regulators earlier imposed more than $2.5 billion in penalties on London-based Barclays, Zurich-based UBS AG and RBS, while firms including Lloyds Banking Group Plc and Deutsche Bank AG are still under investigation.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lindsay Fortado in London at lfortado@bloomberg.net; Maud van Gaal in Amsterdam at mvangaal@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net; Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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