U.S. investigators conducting a criminal probe of interest-rate manipulation have asked their British counterparts for permission to interview London traders, two people familiar with the investigation said.
Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a request with the U.K. Home Office for access to dozens of bankers in conjunction with British prosecutors that are also investigating the rate rigging, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because the proceedings haven’t been made public.
The move may indicate the U.S. wants to pursue criminal charges against individuals in the U.K. that could lead to extradition, said Bradley Simon, a former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, New York. It 'won’t deter them in the least' that U.K. prosecutors are also involved, he said.
'They don’t stay within U.S. borders', Simon said in a phone interview. 'They don’t hesitate to charge non-U.S. citizens abroad and I know that this case is being investigated within the antitrust division of the Justice Department, which is known to take their cases very seriously'.
Regulators from Tokyo to London to New York are probing how derivatives traders and bankers who submitted interest-rate data colluded to rig benchmarks including the London Interbank Offered Rate. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, UBS AG (UBSN) and Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) are among lenders awaiting information about their fate. The Justice Department’s criminal probe is running in parallel with civil investigations being conducted by its fraud division, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the U.K. Financial Services Authority.
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image: © Lisamarie Babik