Singapore punishes RBS and others for rate manipulation

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The Independent Online

Royal Bank of Scotland was yesterday among 20 banks punished by Singapore's central bank for trying to manipulate benchmark borrowing and currency rates.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said 133 traders had tried to rig the Singapore Interbank Offered Rates (Sibor) and Swap Offered Rates in the latest scandal to rock the financial world.

RBS, ING and UBS were given the harshest penalties. Instead of fines, they will each have to deposit about S$1bn (£509m) at the central bank for one year. The deposits will accrue no interest.

Other banks censured included Barclays and Standard Chartered.

The MAS said that the level of reserves banks must set aside was measured according to the severity of attempts by traders to influence the benchmarks.

"The respective banks have taken disciplinary actions against the traders involved," the MAS said in a statement.

"About three-quarters of these traders have resigned from or have been asked to leave their banks. The rest of the traders have been, or will be, subject to disciplinary actions."

In a statement, ING added: "ING finds the inappropriate behaviour and lack of professional ethics found in the review unacceptable. Therefore it has taken disciplinary actions against the small number of individuals involved. Furthermore, ING has taken and will take a number of actions to enhance our procedures for submitting rates."

The latest disclosure comes almost a year to the day after Barclays was fined £290m for rigging the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor).

UBS and RBS were later fined for this and about 20 financial institutions have also been investigated.

Last week, the Financial Conduct Authority said it was looking into reports that traders manipulated benchmark foreign exchange rates in the UK. Bloomberg News said traders at some of the world's biggest banks were involved.

The MAS added: "(We) have referred some cases to the Commercial Affairs Department and thr Attorney-General's Chambers. Based on the available information and evidence, no criminal offence under current Singapore law appears to have been committed."