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BFCSA: UBS Master manipulators of LIBOR. Dept of Justice to "get tough"

Posted by on in Bankers A Law Unto Themselves
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DoJ ratchets up pressure on UBS over Libor scandal

May 13 2015

 The US justice department is considering scrapping a 2012 agreement to not prosecute UBS for allegedly manipulating Libor in the latest sign that US authorities are ratcheting up pressure on global banks.


UBS had agreed in 2012 to a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) to resolve allegations it rigged the benchmark rate, saving it from a guilty plea if the Swiss bank avoided other alleged wrongdoing for two years.


The deal was recently extended for an additional year to the end of 2015.

But now that settlement is under threat as part of the wide-ranging probe of potential manipulation of foreign exchange markets, which the DoJ is hoping to resolve with UBS and four other banks as soon as next week.


The threat of scrapping the 2012 NPA for the Libor settlement is particularly sensitive for UBS because the Swiss bank was the first financial institution to alert US authorities about the potential manipulation of forex markets.


UBS had expected to receive credit for the proactive move, since the DoJ has been emphasising that firms that notify authorities for alleged wrongdoing would be rewarded.


In the forex probe, UBS received immunity from antitrust prosecution. But as the probe widened into the investigation of whether banks adequately disclosed information to clients and counterparties, among other practices, the case expanded into a possible fraud investigation.


Fraud charges aren’t covered in the antitrust immunity protection, and UBS was set to plead guilty to such allegations. But the possibility of scrapping the Libor NPA was only brought up recently and signals the latest move by the DoJ to be tougher on Wall Street.

Bloomberg first reported that the NPA could be torn up.  DoJ officials have been taking a harder line on NPAs and deferred prosecution agreements, saying they could be scrapped if the terms are violated.

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