Barclays Milan offices raided in Euribor probe

Sweep linked to accusations of manipulating interest rates

Barclays Milan offices raided in Euribor probe

(ANSA) - Rome, July 31 - Italian police on Tuesday seized documents from the Milan offices of London-based Barclays bank as part of a probe into the possible manipulation of Euribor, the euro-priced counterpart of scandal-hit Libor interbank lending rates. The raid was led by Trani prosecutor Michele Ruggiero, known for similar probes and sweeps on the three big New York-based ratings agencies - Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch. The raid was part of a probe announced on July 20, which came on the heels of accusations from consumer groups Adusbef and Federconsumatori. The groups called on prosecutors in a number of Italian cities to investigate a slew of foreign banks, starting with Barclays, for manipulating the Euribor interbank interest rate. The consumer groups are crying foul in Italy after US authorities - the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) - 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. Adusbef and Federconsumatori demanded a criminal investigation of not only Barclays, but also of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group, by prosecutors in Rome, Milan, Trani and other cities. The Italian consumer groups claim the banks caused an estimated 2.9 billion euros in damages to 2.5 million families in Italy, and said a class action suit may be filed on their behalf.

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