German prosecutors drop Libor case against five ex-Deutsche Bank staff

FRANKFURT, May 13 (Reuters) - Frankfurt prosecutors have dropped criminal proceedings against five former Deutsche Bank staff in an investigation linked to alleged manipulation of inter-bank lending rate Libor, the public prosecutor’s office said on Friday.

“We investigated whether there was a violation of the Securities Trading Act and found no evidence of that,” senior public prosecutor Nadja Niesen told Reuters, adding that it could not be established whether any inaccurate information given by the accused could have had an influence on rates.

Prosecutors also did not find any indication of fraud on the part of the accused, and the law itself provided no basis for prosecution, she said.

“Manipulation of the reference interest rates alone was not punishable under the law prevailing at the time,” Niesen said.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the prosecutors’ decision in the case, which focused on the employees’ actions in the years leading up to and following the financial crisis.

The prosecutors’ decision was first reported by Der Spiegel magazine on Friday.

Last year, Deutsche Bank agreed with U.S. and British authorities to pay a record $2.5 billion to resolve investigations it had manipulated benchmark interest rates, which are used to price loans and contracts around the world. (Reporting by Jonathan Gould; Editing by Arno Schuetze and Keith Weir)