(Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors and European regulators are close to arresting individual traders and charging them with colluding to manipulate global benchmark interest rates, according to people familiar with a sweeping investigation into the rigging scandal.

Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., have recently contacted lawyers representing some of the suspects to notify them that criminal charges and arrests could be imminent, said two of those sources, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is ongoing.

Defence lawyers, some of whom represent suspects, said prosecutors have indicated they plan to begin making arrests and filing criminal charges in the next few weeks. In long-running financial investigations it is not uncommon for prosecutors to contact defence lawyers before filing charges to offer suspects a chance to cooperate or take a plea, these lawyers said.

The prospect of charges and arrests means prosecutors are getting a fuller picture of how traders at major banks allegedly sought to influence the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, and other global rates that underpin hundreds of trillions of dollars in assets. The criminal charges would come alongside efforts by regulators to fine major banks, and could show that the alleged activity was not rampant at the lenders.

“The individual criminal charges have no impact on the regulatory moves against the banks,” said a European source familiar with the matter. “But banks are hoping that at least regulators will see that the scandal was mainly due to individual misbehaviour of a gang of traders.”

In Europe, financial regulators are focusing on a ring of traders from several European banks who allegedly sought to rig benchmark interest rates such as Libor, said the European source familiar with the investigation in Europe.

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And Bix’s Take…

Leaked word of looming arrests for some of the top operatives in the Banking Cabal has hit the wires…
 
The language used in this article makes it clear that THERE WAS A GRAND CONSPIRACY AMONGST THE LARGEST BANKS IN THE WORLD!
 
“charging them with colluding to manipulate global benchmark interest rates”
 
“traders at major banks allegedly sought to influence the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, and other global rates that underpin hundreds of trillions of dollars in assets.”
 
“financial regulators are focusing on a ring of traders from several European banks who allegedly sought to rig benchmark interest rates such as Libor”
 
“regulators are checking emails among a group of traders and believe they are close to piecing together a picture of how the suspects allegedly conspired to make money by manipulating rates”
 
“More than a handful of traders at different banks are involved”
 
“There are also probes in Europe concerning Euribor, the Euro Interbank Offered Rate”
 
“more than a dozen current and former employees of several large banks are under investigation”
 
“documents released by the New York Federal Reserve Bank this month that show regulators in the United States and England had some knowledge that bankers were submitting misleading Libor bids”
 
“banks face a growing number of civil lawsuits from cities, companies and financial institutions claiming they were harmed by rate manipulation”