Dutch Rabobank expects imminent Libor settlement

LONDON/AMSTERDAM Wed Oct 2, 2013 2:26pm BST

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LONDON/AMSTERDAM Oct 2 (Reuters) - Dutch lender Rabobank expects to receive a multimillion-pound fine from British and U.S. regulators within a few weeks to settle allegations that its traders helped to manipulate benchmark interest rates.

Two sources familiar with the situation said that a Rabobank settlement with regulators such as Britain's Financial Conduct Authority, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is expected this month.

One source familiar with the matter said that the co-operatively owned bank has been telephoning senior staff about the expected penalty, which would be the fifth slapped on financial institutions since a sprawling global investigation into the rate-rigging scandal began in 2008.

The scandal, which has landed four institutions with fines totalling $2.7 billion to date, has also resulted in seven individuals being charged by U.S. and British prosecutors, scores of institutions and traders interrogated and a spate of lawsuits launched by disgruntled bank customers who allege that they lost out financially.

It remains unclear, however, whether a U.S. government shutdown over a funding battle in Congress could delay any announcement. Non-essential government work has been halted until the budget impasse is resolved.

Rabobank, the second-largest Dutch financial group by assets, is likely to agree to a penalty of between the 290 million pounds ($470 million) imposed on Barclays and the $612 million deal struck by Royal Bank of Scotland, Bloomberg reported in February, citing a source with knowledge of the investigation.

Rabobank bank declined to comment on Wednesday.

More than a dozen banks and brokerages are being investigated by regulators and anti-trust watchdogs worldwide for manipulating benchmark rates such as Libor and Euribor, which are used to price trillions of dollars of products from derivatives to credit cards.

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