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Feb 12 (Reuters) - U.S. authorities are probing British interdealer brokers ICAP PLC and R.P. Martin Holdings Ltd over their role in a global interest rate-rigging scandal, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people close to the investigation.
The U.S. Justice Department and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have widened their probe to include the two UK brokerage firms, the Journal said, although neither firm has been accused of wrongdoing. ()
ICAP, which disclosed last month that it is under scrutiny by Britain's Financial Services Authority, has received requests for information from the Justice Department and the CFTC, the paper said, citing a person familiar with the matter.
Interdealer brokers help some banks decide their submissions for the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, and other benchmarks which are used to price trillions of dollars' worth of loans.
Regulators allege that some employees of the two firms were crucial in helping specific traders rig submissions by banks of estimated borrowing costs in different currencies, the Wall Street Journal said.
ICAP chief executive Michael Spencer said last week that the group was conducting an internal probe into possible interest rate-fixing and was sharing relevant information with the FSA. ICAP had suspended one employee and put three more on administrative leave.
The brokerage reiterated those remarks to the newspaper.
Spokesmen for the Justice Department, CFTC and R.P. Martin declined to comment to the paper.
None of the parties could immediately be reached for comment by Reuters.