BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU regulators are investigating whether banks may have manipulated the Tokyo interbank lending rate, Tibor, in addition to the London and European Libor and Euribor rates, the EU’s antitrust chief said on Friday.
The European Commission and enforcers in the United States, Switzerland and Japan are currently investigating whether banks influenced key interbank lending rates that affect loans around the world.
Last year the European Commission raided several lenders, related to its Euribor investigation.
The EU watchdog’s investigation has escalated since then, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in the text of a speech to be delivered at a conference in Washington.
“One of (the Commission’s investigations) concerns products linked to the Euro Interbank Offered Rate or Euribor. Others focus on products tied to other benchmark rates for specific currencies, such as Libor and Tibor, the Tokyo benchmark rate,” he said.
“We have concerns that the companies may have violated the rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices in the trading of the financial derivatives based on those benchmarks,” he said.
The Euribor benchmark rate is used by banks as a reference when fixing a price on interbank euro loans. There are 44 contributors to Euribor, far more than contribute to Libor. Most major banks, including Santander, BNP Paribas and UBS, are on the Euribor panel.
Barclays, HSBC and RBS have confirmed in regulatory filings that they are being investigated as part of the European Commission’s Libor probe.
Editing by Greg Mahlich