* Court had ordered RBS, others, to produce documents
* Competition Bureau alleged collusion in setting rates
* RBS Canadian branch said can't force documents from parent
* Court grants interim stay while RBS challenges orders
By Randall Palmer
OTTAWA, Feb 28 A Canadian court has put a
hold on an order that Royal Bank of Scotland must turn
over internal documents in connection with an investigation into
whether banks manipulated key global interest rates, Canada's
Competition Bureau said on Tuesday.
The Canadian branch of RBS contended it was
unreasonable for the Canadian government to require it to
produce a whole range of documents from its parent company in
The Competition Bureau, which won a court order
last May requiring RBS to turn over a range of documents, is
investigating whether RBS and other banks tried to influence how
the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) is set.
The bureau, which investigates antitrust
activities, had sought the documents after receiving
co-operation from one of the banks involved - identified as
Swiss bank UBS AG, according to people familiar with
On Nov. 30, Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael
Quigley granted RBS an interim stay of the order to hand over
the documents, until a challenge of the law can be heard. News
of the stay emerged only this week.
RBS launched that challenge on Jan. 30, declaring
that any requirement that a party produce documents that it is
not able to produce on its own, violates constitutional
guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure.
"The Court should not have granted the ... order
as there was no evidence that (the) Canada branch (of RBS) has
or is likely to have information that is relevant to the
inquiry," RBS said in its legal submission.
Quigley, in his summary of RBS's representations
in November, said the bank had said that not only could the
Canadian branch not compel the parent to produce information,
the RBS parent company would breach British law if it did so.
RBS also pointed out to Quigley that under a
British-Canadian agreement, Canada could simply require Britain
to issue a search warrant against the parent company.
Quigley's stay of the order remains in effect until RBS's
broader challenge has been heard and determined.
(Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Rob Wilson)