British Bank Lloyds to Pay $370 Million to Settle Libor Probes

(Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

Lloyds Banking Group has agreed to pay nearly $370 million to American and British authorities, settling allegations the British bank manipulated a key interest rate.

The penalties, announced Monday, are the latest extracted from major lenders for alleged manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, known as Libor.

Libor — an average of certain interest rates offered by major banks — helps determine borrowing costs for consumers and corporations.

Traders at Lloyds manipulated the key rate for more than three years to “benefit the trading positions of themselves and their friends,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a statement.

Monday’s announcement settles investigations brought by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority, the U.S. Justice Department and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The misconduct occurred from May 2006 to 2009, authorities said.

In a statement, Lloyds Banking Group said those responsible for the misconduct have “either left the Group, been suspended or are subject to disciplinary proceedings.” It called the actions of those employees “totally unacceptable.”

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority also accused Lloyds of manipulating another benchmark rate — since discontinued — to lower fees it owed the Bank of England.