DHAKA: The US justice department is preparing a criminal case against major banks and individuals over international interest rate manipulation, the New York Times reported.
The "Libor" scandal so far has been most acute in London, with public outcry that regulation in Britain was lax. But concern has grown about the wider impact on consumers and the involvement of US regulators.
But public and political pressure is also building across the Atlantic. Saturday`s report of a likely US criminal actions comes as private US investors prepare suits and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission carries out a far-reaching regulatory inquiry.
Barclays alerted US regulators as far back as 2007 to concerns that banks were rigging benchmark interest rates, according to documents released on Friday, but policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic did not appear to take decisive action, underscoring the chaos of the financial crisis.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York was pushed to release the documents amid a furor that was touched off when Barclays late last month agreed to pay $453mn in fines for attempting to manipulate Libor.
Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, is calculated daily in London when panels of banks submit estimates of how much it costs them to borrow. It is a major index that helps judge the health of banks and influences rates from mortgages to student loans to credit cards.
BDST: 1345 HRS, July 15, 2012
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