Article: Libor Contracts Caught in Limbo Spur Calls for Congressional Fix

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Libor Contracts Caught in Limbo Spur Calls for Congressional Fix

Alexandra Harris, 15 April 2021

President Joe Biden’s administration and the Federal Reserve are pushing for U.S. lawmakers to ease Wall Street’s transition away from the London interbank offered rate and help head off legal headaches for many contracts that risk being left in limbo under present plans.

In testimony set to be delivered at a House Financial Services subcommittee meeting Thursday, officials from both the Treasury Department and the Fed will voice support for federal legislation that would allow for an orderly way to shift existing financial products from the discredited set of reference rates, which currently underpins trillions of dollars in securities, derivatives and other contracts. Continue reading “Article: Libor Contracts Caught in Limbo Spur Calls for Congressional Fix”

Article: Global Derivatives Cling to Libor Even as Its Retirement Nears

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Global Derivatives Cling to Libor Even as Its Retirement Nears

William Shaw and Alex Harris, 14 April 2021

Anyone hoping Libor’s death notice would accelerate the shift of hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of derivatives toward replacement benchmarks will be sorely disappointed.

In the U.S, just 4.7% of contracts traded in March were pegged to the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, or SOFR, the benchmark slated to replace the London interbank offered rate, according to data from the International Swaps and Derivatives Association released Wednesday. That’s down from 5% in February. Continue reading “Article: Global Derivatives Cling to Libor Even as Its Retirement Nears”

Article: Ex-Deutsche Traders Urge 2nd Circ. To Nix Libor Convictions

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Ex-Deutsche Traders Urge 2nd Circ. To Nix Libor Convictions

Stewart Bishop, 14 April 2021

Two former Deutsche Bank traders on Wednesday argued that the Second Circuit should reverse their convictions for Libor-rigging, saying the government failed to prove they violated any of the applicable rules governing the benchmark interest rate.

Matthew Connolly and Gavin Black in 2018 were convicted at trial of wire fraud and conspiracy for their roles in a purported scheme to tweak lending estimates included in Libor to benefit the bank’s derivatives trading positions. Continue reading “Article: Ex-Deutsche Traders Urge 2nd Circ. To Nix Libor Convictions”

Article: Ex-Trader Sues RBS For £1.1M In Unpaid Bonuses

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Ex-Trader Sues RBS For £1.1M In Unpaid Bonuses

Joanne Faulkner, 12 April 2021

A former Royal Bank of Scotland trader is suing the lender for more than £1.1 million ($1.5 million), claiming he is being denied promised bonuses after being unlawfully dismissed during a regulatory investigation into the Libor rate-rigging scandal.

Arif Hussein, former managing director of a trading division, argues in a High Court claim that has recently been made public that RBS has wrongfully classified his firing from the lender in 2014 as “for cause.” This came despite an employment tribunal determining he had been unlawfully dismissed a year later, the claim added. Continue reading “Article: Ex-Trader Sues RBS For £1.1M In Unpaid Bonuses”

Article: Losing LIBOR in the Capital Markets — A Reprieve?

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Losing LIBOR in the Capital Markets — A Reprieve?

Dawn Holicky Pruitt, 10 March 2021

As reported in our previous alert “Losing LIBOR in the Capital Markets — Are You Ready?,” the anticipated date for discontinuation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) is approaching. While LIBOR is a widely used benchmark rate for U.S. dollar-denominated floating-rate debt securities and other financial products, LIBOR was the subject of widespread market manipulation and ineffective regulation. In 2017, the Chief Executive of the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced its intention to stop persuading or compelling banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR to its administrator after 2021. This announcement strengthened the objective of the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC), a committee convened by U.S. regulators to identify LIBOR alternatives in the U.S. market.

While market participants were warned that LIBOR may cease to exist after 2021, the ICE Benchmark Administration Limited (IBA), as the administrator of LIBOR, recently announced the results of a November 2020 consultation regarding the upcoming discontinuation. Although certain lesser-utilized U.S. dollar-denominated LIBOR tenors will cease to be published after December 31, 2021, the IBA announced it will continue publishing widely used tenors (such as one-month LIBOR and three-month LIBOR) until June 30, 2023. The FCA’s support for the extension provides confidence regarding the ongoing representativeness of the continuing U.S. dollar-denominated LIBOR tenors until June 30, 2023.

The extension of widely used U.S. dollar-denominated LIBOR tenors provides issuers of LIBOR-linked debt securities with additional time to prepare for LIBOR discontinuance. In particular, the extension may, in many cases, allow for a natural end to LIBOR-linked debt securities through maturation or the exercise by issuers of redemption rights.

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Article: The LIBOR Scandal

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The LIBOR Scandal

Jason Fernando, 24 February 2021

What Is the LIBOR Scandal?
The LIBOR Scandal was a highly-publicized scheme in which bankers at several major financial institutions colluded with each other to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). The scandal sowed distrust in the financial industry and led to a wave of fines, lawsuits, and regulatory actions. Although the scandal came to light in 2012, there is evidence suggesting that the collusion in question had been ongoing since as early as 2003.

Many leading financial institutions were implicated in the scandal, including Deutsche Bank (DB), Barclays (BCS), Citigroup (C), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

As a result of the rate fixing scandal, questions around LIBOR’s validity as a credible benchmark rate have arisen and it is now being phased out. According to the Federal Reserve and regulators in the U.K., LIBOR will be phased out by June 30, 2023, and will be replaced by the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR). As part of this phase-out, LIBOR one-week and two-month USD LIBOR rates will no longer be published after December 31, 2021. Continue reading “Article: The LIBOR Scandal”

Article: Barclays Escapes UK Municipalities’ Libor Loan Suits

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Barclays Escapes UK Municipalities’ Libor Loan Suits

Joanne Faulkner, 22 February 2021

A judge said on Monday that eight local councils in England cannot get out of Libor-linked loans they signed with Barclays before the bank’s involvement in the rate-rigging scandal was revealed because they could not prove the lender had acted dishonestly. 

High Court Judge Sara Cockerill said that two claims focusing on how interest rates tied to the loans were influenced by the London Interbank Offered Rate had “no real prospect of success.” The local authorities could not prove that Barclays had knowingly made false representations when it sold the swaps between 2006 and 2008, the judge said. Continue reading “Article: Barclays Escapes UK Municipalities’ Libor Loan Suits”

Article: Five Banks Settle LIBOR Manipulation Suit for $22 Million

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Five Banks Settle LIBOR Manipulation Suit for $22 Million

Meg Slachetka, 13 October 2020

Last week, Judge Naomi Buchwald of the Southern District of New York provided final approval of a nearly $22 million settlement between a class of indirect investors and five Wall Street banks that the plaintiff investors accused of manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) in violation of the Sherman Act. The plaintiffs are over-the-counter (OTC) investors who indirectly interacted with the defendant banks via interest rate swaps and other transactions.

These plaintiffs made purchases from other banks that are not defendants in the case; the five settling defendants are JPMorgan, Citibank, Bank of America, HSBC, and Barclays. The suit is one of many filed after Barclays admitted in 2012 that it had manipulated LIBOR. Continue reading “Article: Five Banks Settle LIBOR Manipulation Suit for $22 Million”

Article: Market manipulation persists in London’s financial district

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Market manipulation persists in London’s financial district

LLB EDITOR, 27 April 2020

A total of 822 reports of suspected market manipulation were made to the FCA last year (year end Dec 31 2019) by market participants, suggesting that the problem is far from being eradicated, says RPC, the City-headquartered law firm.

The number of reports of market manipulation saw a slight increase last year, rising from 812 in 2018.

Market manipulation is the attempt to artificially increase or decrease the price of an asset, index or its derivative in order to make a gain. Following the LIBOR scandal that broke in 2012, the laws relating to market manipulation were significantly tightened up. This included criminalising the attempted manipulation of benchmarks (Financial Services Act 2012). Continue reading “Article: Market manipulation persists in London’s financial district”

Article: UBS agrees to pay $68M in multistate settlement over Libor manipulation claims

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UBS agrees to pay $68M in multistate settlement over Libor manipulation claims

Declan Harty, 21 December 2018

UBS AG agreed to pay $68 million as part of settlement with 39 U.S. states and the District of Columbia related to the Swiss banking giant’s alleged manipulation of the London interbank offered rate.

Led by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, the UBS settlement is the latest in a string of agreements state regulators have recently reached with banks that were allegedly altering Libor submissions for their own benefit leading up to and around the financial crisis of 2008.

UBS was accused of misrepresenting its U.S. dollar-tied Libor submissions to protect its reputation, according to a press release from Underwood’s office. The 40 attorneys general who were part of the settlement also claimed UBS manipulated Yen Libor submissions to favor its derivative trading positions. Continue reading “Article: UBS agrees to pay $68M in multistate settlement over Libor manipulation claims”

Article: How ex-JP Morgan silver trader’s guilty plea could boost manipulation claim against bank

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How ex-JP Morgan silver trader’s guilty plea could boost manipulation claim against bank

Dawn Giel, Dan Mangan, 13 November 2018

A previously secret guilty plea by a former commodity trader at J. P. Morgan Chase, who admitted that he rigged precious metals markets, has drawn the attention of a lawyer who has already accused traders at the nation’s largest bank of similar conduct.

The lawyer, David Kovel, told CNBC he was struck by how much in common his civil case pending in New York federal court against J. P. Morgan Chase has with the conduct outlined in the ongoing criminal case in Connecticut against John Edmonds.

Edmonds, a 36-year-old Brooklyn resident, pleaded guilty in October to fraudulently manipulating the precious metals markets from 2009 to 2015.

He admitted working with “unnamed co-conspirators” at his former employer, J. P. Morgan, the Justice Department made public Nov. 6, when it unsealed the case in U.S. District Court in Connecticut.

Edmonds’ criminal plea related to “spoofing,” a certain type of improper trading that has been the subject of a broader regulatory crackdown on market manipulation in the decade since the 2008 financial crisis.

So far this year, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has announced 26 enforcement actions that involved market manipulation, attempted manipulation, false reporting, spoofing or deceptive conduct. That is more than double the number in 2017 — and six times that in 2016.

Prosecutors said Edmonds learned the deceptive strategy “from more senior traders” at the bank, and that he “personally deployed this strategy hundreds of times with the knowledge and consent of his immediate supervisors.” His guilty plea related specifically to trading in silver futures contracts, as well as in gold, platinum and palladium futures.

Nearly four years ago, Kovel sued J. P. Morgan on behalf of a colorful hedge fund operator and big-stakes poker player, Daniel Shak, and two metals traders, Mark Grumet and Thomas Wacker. The civil lawsuit accused J. P. Morgan of manipulating the silver futures market from 2010 through 2011, costing Kovel’s clients $30 million in losses.

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Article: LIBOR, FX and Key Benchmark Rigging Claims against RBS, Barclays, HSBC & Lloyds set to Strengthen for Customers Mis-sold Derivatives

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LIBOR, FX and Key Benchmark Rigging Claims against RBS, Barclays, HSBC & Lloyds set to Strengthen for Customers Mis-sold Derivatives

Jaron Dosanjh, 09 March 2018

The door has been opened by the Court of Appeal in PAG v RBS [2018] for misrepresentation claims to be brought by a counter-party to a derivative which is linked to LIBOR, FX or key benchmark where the Swap is with a bank which has been found to have engaged in the manipulation of a benchmark.

This judgment is now the leading authority on claims concerning a customer’s ability to rescind contracts with a bank that has manipulated the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Although this case focused on LIBOR-linked derivatives, the same principles will surely apply to other key benchmark rigging (including the manipulation of FX markets).

This decision will be of particular interest to customers that believe they have been mis-sold a Forex hedging products or a LIBOR-linked derivative. These customers of RBS, Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds Plc may potentially have grounds to rescind the derivative contract if the implied representations made by the banks are considered false due to regulatory findings of benchmark rigging. RBS, Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds Plc have all either undermined the integrity of LIBOR or have been fined for Forex failings.

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Article: Deutsche Bank Ordered to Pay $70 Million for Manipulation of USD Swap Rates

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Deutsche Bank Ordered to Pay $70 Million for Manipulation of USD Swap Rates

Finance Magnates Staff, 02 February 2018

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued an order directed at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. (DBSI), to pay a $70 million civil monetary penalty over charges of attempted manipulation of the ISDAFIX benchmark, between 2007 and 2012.

The US Dollar International Swaps and Derivatives Association Fix is a global benchmark, used in the settlement of various interest rate products, including cash settlement of options on interest rate swaps. The allegations indicate that Deutsche Bank and some of its traders intentionally attempted to manipulate the benchmark, in an effort to benefit the bank’s positions. The specific USD ISDAFIX rates and spreads that the bank attempted to alter are the ones issued at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time each day, and act as a mid-market rate to accommodate settlements across various financial markets. Continue reading “Article: Deutsche Bank Ordered to Pay $70 Million for Manipulation of USD Swap Rates”

Article: UK central bank drawn into market manipulation scandal

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UK central bank drawn into market manipulation scandal

Associated Press, 10 April 2017

LONDON – British politicians are seeking an investigation into allegations that the Bank of England was also involved in manipulating a key market interest rate during the financial crisis.

The BBC says it has a recording from 2008 between officials at Barclays bank that indicates the Bank of England was trying to influence the interest rate, called Libor. Several banks have been fined billions for tampering with the interest rate, which is used to price services like loans globally.

Labour party lawmaker John McDonnell says “this is an extremely serious revelation that contradicts past assurances about the role of the Bank of England in the Libor scandal.”

The central bank told the BBC that Libor was not regulated at the time and that it has been helping in past investigations.

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Article: Deutsche Bank’s $10-Billion Scandal

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Deutsche Bank’s $10-Billion Scandal

Ed Caesar, 22 August 2016

Almost every weekday between the fall of 2011 and early 2015, a Russian broker named Igor Volkov called the equities desk of Deutsche Bank’s Moscow headquarters. Volkov would speak to a sales trader—often, a young woman named Dina Maksutova—and ask her to place two trades simultaneously. In one, he would use Russian rubles to buy a blue-chip Russian stock, such as Lukoil, for a Russian company that he represented. Usually, the order was for about ten million dollars’ worth of the stock. In the second trade, Volkov—acting on behalf of a different company, which typically was registered in an offshore territory, such as the British Virgin Islands—would sell the same Russian stock, in the same quantity, in London, in exchange for dollars, pounds, or euros. Both the Russian company and the offshore company had the same owner. Deutsche Bank was helping the client to buy and sell to himself. Continue reading “Article: Deutsche Bank’s $10-Billion Scandal”