Trani

Trani prosecutors probe international bankers

Investigations into Euribor manipulation of trend-setting rate

Trani prosecutors probe international bankers

Trani, February 4 - Prosecutors in the southern Italian city of Trani are looking to Britain in their investigation into the manipulation of the trend-setting Euribor interest rate, sources said Monday. Prosecutors are focusing on managers of five international banks - London-based Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, RBS and Societe' General - as well as seven financial traders from various countries who have worked in the City of London, the country's financial centre. Their probe around the Euribor began last summer at the request of consumers' groups in Italy, following a major scandal involving the Libor interbank lending rate. The Euribor is the euro-priced counterpart of Britain's Libor, and three-month Euribor rates are a primary gauge of unsecured bank-to-bank lending. It, in turn, sets the trend for other types of interest rates, trickling down to the consumer level. Adusbef and Federconsumatori complained to the Trani prosecutors' office, which specializes in investigating financial crime, after financial authorities in the United States ordered Barclays to pay a $200-million fine for "attempted manipulation of and false reporting concerning Libor and Euribor benchmark interest rates" at the end of June 2012. The consumer groups estimate that the alleged manipulation of Euribor has cost Italian borrowers at least 3 billion euros.

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di Sebastiano Caspanello