Global banking scandals: Who is under scrutiny?

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A number of scandals have engulfed the global financial system, and international banks are under investigation by regulators in several countries. They are alleged to have committed offences ranging from fixing interbank lending rates to failing to stop their banks being used for money laundering. In this guide, we explain who is accused of what by whom.

1. Libor manipulation

A set of dice spelling out the word LIBOR sat on top of a pile of coins.
  • Barclays has admitted it attempted to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor - the interest rate at which banks lend money to each other
  • Six more banks are under suspicion of colluding in similar attempted manipulation
Investigations and reviews Progress and banks implicated Penalties

Attorney general of New York, US

Seven banks have been served subpoenas: HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, UBS

Inquiry still in progress

Attorney general of Connecticut, US

Seven banks have been served subpoenas: HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, UBS

Inquiry still in progress

Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Imposed a fine of $200m on Barclays

Barclays fined £128.5m ($200m)

Department of Justice, US

Assisted in the CFTC investigation focused on Barclays

Barclays fined £103m ($160m)

Serious Fraud Office, UK

Launched a criminal investigation into the wider Libor scandal

Inquiry still in progress

Financial Services Authority, UK

Tasked by the government with reviewing how Libor is set. Proposals include banks no longer submitting their own data on lending and making rate-fixing against market rules. The British Bankers' Association, the organisation which sets the Libor rate, has said it will accept losing its current role. The FSA is expected to publish its recommendations on Libor reform on Friday, 28 September.

Barclays fined £59.5m ($93m)

2. Sanction-breaking and other wrongdoing

Maroun Petrochemical plant at the Imam Khomeini port, south-western Iran
  • HSBC was fined a record amount by US authorities for failing to stop money being channelled to "drug kingpins and rogue nations"
  • Standard Chartered was fined by US regulators for illegally hiding transactions with Iran, allowing the country to sell its oil for dollars
  • US authorities said Standard Chartered laundered $250bn over nearly a decade, breaking US sanctions

New York Department of Financial Services, US

Ordered Standard Chartered to pay a multi-million dollar fine and pay for a DFS monitor to ensure compliance. Following the fine, DFS said it had evidence of apparently similar schemes to conduct business with other countries under sanctions - Libya, Burma and Sudan

Standard Chartered fined £217m ($340m)

US Department of Justice and Federal Reserve

Standard Chartered was later fined by the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, and by the Department of Justice.

Standard Chartered fined $100m (£62m) by Federal Reserve and $227m (£141m) by Department of Justice

US Senate

HSBC was also accused, by the US Senate, of failing to prevent money laundering, especially through its Mexican affiliate, and not reporting thousands of transactions with links to Iran. The Senate's report concluded that lax controls at HSBC left it vulnerable to being used to launder dirty money

HSBC agreed to pay $1.92bn (£1.19bn) to settle the case

Financial Services Authority

HSBC said it expected to reach agreement with the UK's Financial Services Authority on the same charges "shortly"

No agreement yet

Financial Supervisory Service, South Korea

Prompted by the US investigation, the FSS is conducting checks on HSBC's Seoul branch and Standard Chartered operations in South Korea, to "look into their businesses related to money-laundering" to see if they reported suspicious transactions and if they "verified their customers before such transactions"

No details

Royal Bank of Scotland is understood to be facing investigations into possible violations of US sanctions on Iran

RBS is co-operating with US and UK authorities after going to them with information found in an internal review

Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), US

US media reports suggest that OFAC, along with the Federal Reserve, the Justice Department and the Manhattan district attorney's office, is investigating a total of four European banks for alleged violations of US sanctions on Iran. The inquiry is said to be confidential and its existence has not been officially confirmed

No details

Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission, US

US authorities are undertaking an investigation into whether Barclays' "relationships with third parties who assist Barclays to win or retain business" are compliant with the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Inquiry still in progress

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, US

Barclays is being investigated over power trading in the west of the US during late 2006 through to the end of 2008

Inquiry still in progress

3. Asian interbank rate manipulation

South Korean currency
  • Regulators in South Korea are investigating alleged interest rate-rigging by at least four banks through certificates of deposit (CD), whose prices are used to set interbank lending rates in a similar way to Libor
  • Regulators in Singapore and Japan are also making similar checks on their banks following the Libor scandal
Investigations and reviews Progress and banks implicated Penalties

Fair Trade Commission, South Korea

Inspecting nine banks within South Korea's Kookmin, Shinhan, Woori and Hana banking groups seeking evidence of collusion on CD rates and possible rate fixing

No conclusions or penalties made public

Japanese Bankers Association

Eighteen banks were asked to inspect their procedures for submitting Yen-denominated interbank rates, amid suggestions of possible collusion between banks

No improprieties in rate reporting found. The association plans to analyse the results further, to see if the method of calculating the rate needs to change

Singapore Monetary Authority

Investigating how unnamed banks set "key market interest rate benchmarks", according to Bloomberg

No conclusions or penalties made public

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