September 26, 2012 / 4:06 PM / 5 years ago

TIMELINE-Libor: The road to scandal

Sept 26 (Reuters) - Libor, the London interbank offered rate, is the global benchmark for interest rates on everything from credit cards to trillions of dollars in financial derivatives and is at the heart of a global scandal over rate rigging.

Libor rates are based on daily estimates from a group of banks as to how much they would expect to pay to borrow funds from each other for a range of currencies and periods.

Below is a look at Libor and the scandal.

1969 - An $80 million loan for the Shah of Iran becomes one of the first pegged to a benchmark set by the group of bankers behind the deal. They call it a London interbank offered rate.

1986 - The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) publishes the first official Libor rates in U.S. Dollars, Yen and Sterling, meeting demand for global benchmarks from financial markets.

2007 - Barclays alerts U.S. regulators about its concerns that other banks are submitting dishonestly low interbank rates.

June 2008 - U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, then head of the New York Fed, raises concerns over Libor with the Bank of England, which passes the message to the BBA.

Sept. 2008 - Libor rates spike after the collapse of Lehman Brothers at the height of the global financial crisis. Rate setting at the time is central to investigations of rigging.

2010 - Britain’s Financial Services Authority launches an investigation into Barclays as part of a global probe into the industry over allegations of manipulation.

Aug. 2011 - Discount brokerage and money manager Charles Schwab Corp files lawsuits accusing 11 major banks of conspiring to manipulate Libor.

June 2012 - Barclays fined $455 million in a settlement with U.S. and British regulators over rigging rates. Britain announces a review of the way Libor is calculated.

July 2012 - Barclays CEO Bob Diamond and chairman Marcus Agius quit over the scandal. Agius keeps a caretaker role. Class action brought by investors against Barclays and other banks over rigging.

Aug. 2012 - A joint New York-Connecticut investigation of Libor has sent subpoenas to Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank , Barclays, UBS AG and Citigroup Inc. The subpoenas seek communication between executives related to possible collusion that may have played a role in alleged rate manipulation.

Sept. 2012 - The BBA says it will support any recommendation by Martin Wheatley, the Financial Services Authority’s managing director, for a change of responsibility in setting the rate. He will issue recommendations on Sept. 28.

Sources: Reuters/BBA

Thomson Reuters, parent company of Reuters, has been calculating and distributing the rates for the BBA since 2005, when it acquired previous calculating agent Telerate.

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