UK's Osborne: rate rigging by RBS, others "totally unacceptable"

LONDON Wed Feb 6, 2013 10:38am EST

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister George Osborne on Wednesday criticized in the strongest terms the manipulation of global benchmark interest rates by the Royal Bank of Scotland and other banks.

"What happened at RBS and other banks is totally unacceptable," he told reporters.

"At my insistence, the bankers, not the taxpayers, will pick up the bill. Those people who did wrong will face the full force of the law... In 2013 our reforms are turning people's anger into a positive force for change," he added.

Britain's RBS will pay U.S. and British authorities $615 million and plead guilty to wire fraud in Japan to settle allegations it rigged the London interbank offered rate (Libor), used to price trillions of dollars' worth of loans.

More than a dozen traders at RBS offices in London, Singapore and Tokyo manipulated Libor from at least 2006 until 2010.

In a bid to avoid a political firestorm, the part state-owned bank will cut into its staff bonuses to pay the fines.

(Reporting by David Milliken and William Schomberg, writing by Olesya Dmitracova)

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