RBS could face Libor fines, admits Hester

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The Independent Online

The Royal Bank of Scotland's chief executive, Stephen Hester, warned yesterday that the bank could face fines rivalling those Barclays was forced to pay in the wake of the rate-fixing scandal.

He said that the taxpayer-backed bank was being probed as part of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) investigation into the rigging of the Libor. Barclays lost three executives and faces a £290m fine.

"RBS is one of the banks tied-up in Libor. We'll have our day in that particular spotlight as well," he said in an interview with The Guardian. "Even though when all the Libor [fines] are out most of it is going to be around the wrongdoings of a handful of people at a number of banks. Those wrongdoings taint the whole industry beyond the handful of people and that makes it a huge problem."

The Libor admission followed a computer meltdown at RBS when up to 13 million customers could not access their accounts for up to a month. Mr Hester said the situation might have been avoided if more had been spent on upgrading existing computer systems rather than on developing new ones.

* HSBC could be forced to compensate victims of insurance mis-selling to the tune of more than £500m, it was reported last night.It was expected that the bank would say in its half-year results today that it had set aside £300m to settle payment protection insurance (PPI) claims, Sky News reported, plus £200m to recompense businesses mis-sold interest rate swaps following last month's industry-wide settlement with the FSA.