Rabobank faces fine of over $440 million for rate rigging: report

AMSTERDAM Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:58am EST

A view shows the Rabobank headquarters in Jakarta January 15, 2013. REUTERS/Beawiharta

A view shows the Rabobank headquarters in Jakarta January 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Beawiharta

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch group Rabobank RABO.UL is expected to get a fine of more than $440 million for manipulating Libor interest rates, news agency Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

Rabobank, the second-largest financial group in the Netherlands by balance sheet size, is expected to reach a settlement with U.S. and UK regulators over claims it tried to manipulate benchmark interest rates, Bloomberg said, citing four people with knowledge of the investigation.

The London interbank offered rate, known as Libor, and its smaller counterpart Euribor are Europe's key gauges of how much banks pay to borrow from their peers, and underpin swathes of financial products.

Rabobank's fine is likely to be between the 290 million pounds ($438 million) Barclays (BARC.L) paid in June and the $612 million Royal Bank of Scotland paid earlier this month, Bloomberg said, citing one of the people.

The fine could come as early as May, Bloomberg said.

Rabobank, a non-listed, cooperatively-owned Dutch bank, declined to comment.

It said in August it had received several subpoenas and requests for information about the benchmark interest rate setting process in different countries, including Britain, the United States, Switzerland, Japan and Singapore.

Switzerland's UBS UBSN.VX agreed in December to pay $1.5 billion to settle charges.

In July, Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad reported that Rabobank fired four employees between 2008 and 2011 over the manipulation of interbank lending rates.

More than a dozen banks and brokerage firms, including JP Morgan (JPM.N), Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) and Citigroup Inc (C.N), are being investigated by regulators over the manipulation of benchmark rates like Libor and Euribor.

($1 = 0.6618 British pounds)

(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Mark Potter)