London: Regulators are investigating four of Europe's biggest banks -- Credit Agricole, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale -- over the attempted manipulation of global benchmark interest rates, says a media report.
Citing sources, 'The Financial Times' said "evidence of links between traders at all four banks and Barclays' former euroswaps trader Philippe Moryoussef is under scrutiny."
The news comes in the wake of the resignation of Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius earlier this month following the bank being slapped with 290 million pound fine by the US and the UK authorities to settle charges of manipulating global benchmark lending rates.
The US futures regulator Commodity Futures Trading Commission, had recently described an unnamed trader as having "orchestrated an effort to align trading strategies among traders at multiple banks in order to profit from their futures trading positions?.
According to FT, Moryoussef is that trader who had worked for Barclays from 2005 until 2007 and had manipulated the benchmark interest rates.
Moryoussef is alleged to have contacted a number of traders whom he knew at other banks, either through previous employment or via professional or personal networks.
According to FT "regulators are looking at suspected communication with Michael Zrihen at Credit Agricole, Didier Sander at HSBC and Christian Bittar at Deutsche Bank, all of whom no longer work at the groups in question."
At SocGen the identity of the traders in question remains unclear and the probe appears to be at an earlier stage, FT said.
Libor is based on rate submissions from a relatively small and select panel of major banks, including Barclays, and is calculated and published daily for several different currencies by the British Banker's Association (BBA).
Generally, it reflects the cost of borrowing unsecured funds in the London interbank market.
Euribor, also calculated in a similar manner, measures the cost of borrowing in the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union.
First Published: Thursday, July 19, 2012, 14:34