HSBC dropped out of talks to settle a European Union antitrust probe into rigging of Euribor lending rates, according to a person familiar with the investigation, as regulators prepare to hand out fines to settling banks as soon as next month.
Bloomberg reports that HSBC, pulled out of the negotiations because the discussions stumbled over the possible size of a fine and liability issues, according to a second person who, like the first person, asked not be named because the talks are confidential.
Barclays, Credit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland and Societe Generale also entered into settlement talks with the European Commission, and at least one of those may have also pulled out of the discussions, the person said.
Regulators around the world are investigating whether more than a dozen firms, including Deutsche Bank, colluded to rig various benchmark interest rates to mask their true cost of borrowing. By refusing to settle with the commission in the Euribor probe, banks are giving up the chance of a 10% discount in fines in return for admitting that they colluded to manipulate benchmarks.
Banks settling with the EU will agree to admit to collusion over the manipulation of Euribor and may face fines as early as December, one of the people said. HSBC, and others that reject a settlement, would be separately sent a formal statement of objections, likely stretching the process into next year.
To access the complete Bloomberg article hit the link below:
image: © Elliott Brown