Aussie banks set to lose billions after $40bn LIBOR rigging scandal

AUSTRALIA’S top banking regulator has ordered Australian banks to hand over billions of dollars worth of data to a consortium of international firms that is looking into a massive LIBOR manipulation scandal that left the banks scrambling to find new ways to make money.

Key points:The Federal Financial Crime Commission (FFCC) says it will provide data from three firms to help identify how the Libor rate worksSource: ABC News | Final data to be shared with Australia’s regulators in OctoberThe Federal Banking Commission (ABC) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have already agreed to hand the information to the consortium, which has been formed to investigate how LIBOR, the benchmark rate for interest rates on a range of financial instruments, is set.

The consortium, called the Global Risk Intelligence Group (GRIG), is led by former Federal Police officer Andrew Haldane, who previously headed the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and has since returned to banking.

Mr Haldan is also the founder of two Australian financial advisory firms: Haldanes Financial Advisors and Haldans Financial Advisers.

The companies said on Wednesday they had agreed to cooperate with the ABC in the investigation.

“We believe that we can provide evidence and data that will help resolve this matter,” the three firms said in a joint statement.

“The FCO and ASIC will share the results of the investigation with our regulators, regulators of other jurisdictions and regulators of Australia.”

Mr Halde, who was appointed to the role of FCO Commissioner in August, said he was confident that “every one of these organisations will provide information to assist us in this inquiry”.

“The truth is we are not alone,” he said.

“It’s a complex issue and the consortium is working closely with the Australian Government and relevant authorities in other countries to provide the necessary information.”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) declined to comment. 

Mr Halkan said that while the consortium was looking into the “unusual” LIBOR rate manipulation, the “very complex” issues around the rigging were important to the wider economy.

“A key issue to consider is whether the manipulation of LIBOR in any way harmed financial stability and, if so, what actions might be required to prevent further harm to financial markets,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

“I’m confident that the information that we are sharing with our industry will be useful to both the FCO (Finance Minister) and ASIC (Australian Competition and Fair Trading) in this matter.”

“We hope that our collaboration will provide the impetus for other countries around the world to be more proactive and proactive in their efforts to protect the integrity of the financial markets and the ability of markets to function,” he added. 

ABC/ReutersTopics:consumer-finance,business-economics-and-federal-government,bankers,industry,australia

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