LIBOR Scandal

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March 14, 2014:
A Dutch Bank has been fined over a billion dollars for its role in the scandal. RBS fined $612 million dollars for its role in the rate manipulation scanda. LIBOR not that big of a deal? Treasury secretary Geitner grilled on why he suspected fraud in 2008 but did not follow up.

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Why LIBOR is Important:

All kinds of loans and interest rates are based on the LIBOR rate, so manipulating bids on transactions means that people may have unfairly overpaid for everything from mortgages to credit cards. At the same time, government investments, which may be in the billions of dollars, would also have been skewed by LIBOR. If major banks conspired to manipulate rates, they could have made billions over the course of the crime, which could stretch back decades.

Have you lost money due to the LIBOR scandal?

LIBOR rate manipulated affects rates on loans, mortgages, credit cards

Libor ScandalThe LIBOR scandal may very well be the biggest financial fraud in history. Interest rates on trillions of dollars in financial contracts and loans may have been rigged for years, and major figures in the financial industry including Timothy Geitner and Ben Bernanke are being called on the carpet to explain how such manipulation could have gone on for so long. A variety of banks may have been involved in rigging the LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate)and apparently there were concerns reported to the Bank of England in 2008. During the financial crisis, when trillions of dollars changed hands through various loans, bailouts, and stimulus programs, this rate affected contracts, mortgages, and complex financial instruments such as derivatives. For example, the bailout of AIG used Libor as a benchmark for interest rates, so even a minor manipulation of the interest rate could put hundreds of millions of dollars into play. Barclays, Deutche Bank, and JP Morgan are among the banks under investigation for rate manipulation and collusion. In the latest case where the Royal Bank of Scotland was fined, it was discovered that RBS had made hundreds of attempts to rig rates through its branches in Tokyo, Singapore, and Great Britain. 21 employees also allegedly helped banks bribe brokers to assist in manipulating the market between 2006 and 2010.

How such as vast fraud could have gone on as long as it did is a mystery to many people, unless you consider that the universe of banking and financial services is much different than the world of regular business transactions. A conspiracy among rate-riggers can be difficult to prove, but following a paper-trail can show the scope of the activity as well as the depths and impact on world finances, especially during the financial crisis.

Notes and Special Information

Special note: Sorting out the vast impact of this fraud could take years, and the dollar amounts could run into the billions. Anyone with a loan, line of credit, mortgage, or credit cards might end up eligible to join one or more class action lawsuits.