Barclays and RBS named in $800m US Libor lawsuit

Barclays and RBS named in $800m US Libor lawsuit

Fannie Mae’s fellow mortgage lender has already launched a similar action in March against 12 banks, again including Barclays and RBS, which are among five financial institutions to have admitted their staff tried to manipulate interest rates.

Dutch lender Rabobank on Tuesday became the latest bank to settle with the US and British authorities, as well as its local regulator, over its involvement in Libor-rigging, paying fines totalling €774m (£663m). Rabobank is among the banks being sued by Fannie Mae.

The lender’s complaint claims it lost money on interest rate swap contracts taken out to hedge its exposure to movements in rates. In documents filed with the court, the company alleges that Libor rates submitted by the banks “were particularly striking on days in which they settled large swap positions with Fannie Mae”.

In the UK, Barclays is fighting a legal claim related to Libor-rigging brought against it by Guardian Care Homes over interest rate swap contracts the bank sold to the care home operator. Guardian Care Homes has alleged the bank mis-sold it the derivatives and that the its admission of involvement in rate manipulations means the contracts should be voided. Barclays has attempted to have the Libor element of the claim struck out at the court of appeal and is fighting the case.

Libor-rigging is just one of several scandals being investigated by regulators across the world. This week Barclays admitted it was cooperating with an inquiry into potential rigging in the foreign exchange market. RBS has already said it is involved in the investigation.

Regulators are also in the early stages of an investigation into claims banks attempted to rig the ISDAfix benchmark rate used to price interest rate swap contracts. Some market experts believe this inquiry could end being the most damaging for the banking industry.

The emergence of the Fannie Mae lawsuit comes as RBS prepares to report its third-quarter financial results, which are expected to show a year-on-year increase in profits.

Barclays and RBS declined to comment.

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