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16-07-2012 15:21:00

RBS Stops Submissions To Singapore Interbank Panel

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By Max Colchester

LONDON--Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS) said Monday that it stopped submitting data to Singapore's interbank lending panel, the latest bank to reconsider its role in a rate-setting mechanism that is under increased global regulatory scrutiny.

The decision came as the 82%-U.K. government-owned bank reviews its markets business in Asia and authorities across the globe conduct probes into allegations of interbank rate fixing. The bank said in a statement that it had come to this decision "during the course of its review."

In November last year, RBS dismissed Singapore-based trader Tan Chi Min for attempts to "improperly influence the rate setters" who made the bank's yen Libor submissions, according to a disciplinary letter filed by the employee in a Singapore court. Tan is suing RBS for wrongful termination and alleges that it was "common practice" for top bank employees to ask Libor setters for a certain interest rate, according to the court documents. RBS has already said it would stop contributing to Tibor, the Tokyo Interbank Offered Rate.

Regulators in countries including the U.S. and Japan are probing various financial institutions over alleged manipulation of key benchmark interbank rates, notably the London interbank offered rate, or Libor.

The probe has spurred several banks to withdraw from the panels that set the rates. For instance, Barclays PLC (BCS), is set to withdraw from a panel that sets base interbank interest rates in the United Arab Emirates, according to people familiar with the matter.

Barclays is one of four international banks on a 12-lender panel that determines the U.A.E. central bank's official Emirates Interbank Offered Rate, or Eibor.

Barclays sent a letter to the central bank asking to withdraw from the panel voluntarily, one of the people said. The bank recently paid around $450 million to settle with U.K. and U.S. authorities over allegation that traders at the bank sought to pad the bank's profits and make the banks funding position look stronger by submitting false borrowing data.

-Write to Max Colchester at max.colchester@wsj.com

(Sam Holmes contributed to this article.)

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 16, 2012 09:21 ET (13:21 GMT)

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