World Economy

6 Banks Settling Swiss Libor Probe

6 Banks Settling Swiss Libor Probe6 Banks Settling Swiss Libor Probe

At least six banks targeted in Switzerland’s investigation into Libor-rigging are in settlement talks with the country’s competition regulator, according to two people familiar with the negotiations, as the four-year probe moves closer to wrapping up.

Comco, as the Swiss Competition Commission is known locally, is trying to reach a so-called “accord amiable” with the banks as it aims to complete the probe by July, one of the people said. They asked not to be identified because the negotiations are continuing, Bloomberg reported.

A settlement in Switzerland would mean nearly all global investigations into rate-rigging are drawing to a close, about four years after the first fines were levied by US and UK regulators. While banks face a smaller European Union probe, they have already been forced to pay about $9 billion for manipulating benchmark interest rates. Comco is moving into the final phase of an investigation opened in 2012 into “potential unlawful agreements” among a dozen banks, including Credit Suisse Group AG, UBS Group AG, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc and Deutsche Bank AG.

UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, has been given limited immunity in the Swiss competition probe, because it was the first company to come forward to help with the investigation into the rigging of the London interbank offered rate. Spokespeople for Zurich-based UBS, as well as Credit Suisse, HSBC, RBS and Deutsche Bank all declined comment.

Comco typically tries to reach amicable settlements but is not wedded to the concept, Comco President Vincent Martenet said in an interview this week.