The Dutch Central Bank said on Monday it was investigating the role, if any, of local banks in the interest rate-rigging scandal which has rocked the financial markets and resulted in large fines.
The central bank said it was looking at interest rate estimates submitted by Dutch banks during the calculation of Libor and Euribor, the benchmarks used in trillions of euros (dollars) worth of global financial deals.
“The Dutch National Bank is investigating, in cooperation with the financial markets authority, the possible manipulation of the Libor and Euribor contribution process,” central bank (DNB) spokesman Remko Vellenga told AFP.
The DNB was looking into “the integrity of Dutch banks and the integrity of the business. The investigation has been going of for a while,” he added.
Vellenga said the Dutch banking watchdog launched the probe after the Libor scandal blew up just over a month ago in Britain but added “there were some signals and reasons to do an investigation” I cannot give you details.” Britain’s Barclays bank was fined #290 million ($451 million, 371 million euros) after admitting that it attempted to manipulate Libor and Euribor rates between 2005 and 2009.
Libor, or the London Interbank Offered Rate, is a flagship instrument used all over the world, affecting what banks, businesses and individuals pay to borrow money.
Euribor, the Euro Interbank Offered Rate, is the eurozone equivalent.
The London-based Financial Times reported on Monday that a trader at the centre of the allegations levelled at Barclays had communicated with counterparts at Dutch lender Rabobank about trading positions related to Euribor.
Regulators were examining communications between a senior euro swaps trader at Barclays until 2007, and Rabobank, the FT said, quoting sources familiar with the investigation. The DNB’s Vellenga declined to comment on the article.
According to the British Banker’s Association website, Rabobank is Libor’s only Dutch banker and it also contributes to Euribor, along with ING.