COPS RAID BARCLAYS
UNDERFIRE bank Barclays has had documents seized by cops as part of a probe into possible interest rate manipulation.
The raid occurred at the bank’s office in Milan, Italy, as regulators investigated fears that Euribor – the eurozone equivalent of the scandal-hit, London- based Libor inter-bank lending rate – has been manipulated.
The search was ordered by prosecutors in the southern city of Trani, who have opened a criminal probe into possible manipulation of the Euribor rate.
The move comes after complaints were filed by two consumer groups. Two judicial sources also confirmed the raid occurred last week, according to Reuters.
Documents, computer material and emails were seized, the consumer groups said in a joint statement.
They added that the Milan raid occurred “with the aim of looking for evidence that Barclays also manipulated Euribor, as it did with Libor, with a negative impact on mortgage rates paid by Italians”.
Barclays was forced to pay a total of £290m in fines to UK and U.S. regulators after it admitted fixing its Libor rate for commercial advantage.
The scandal led to the eventual resignation of chairman Marcus Agius, chief executive Bob Diamond and chief operating officer Jerry del Missier. All three men were later quizzed by MPs on the Treasury Select Committee.
The Libor scandal has sent shock waves through global banking, and embroiled both U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King.
Meanwhile, the Serious Fraud Office in Britain has moved a step closer to bringing charges against individuals involved in rigging the key Libor interest rate after concluding the law covers the offences that led to Barclays being fined.
The SFO’s director, David Green QC, said he is satisfied existing criminal offences are capable of covering the conduct involved and added that the probe will cover other financial institutions.
QUIZZED: Former Barclays boss Bob Diamond