Department of Justice's first ever criminal antitrust charge of a corporation for trader-based market manipulation

The Antitrust Division and the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice have announced a deferred prosecution agreement with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) for its role in the worldwide conspiracy to manipulate LIBOR.

In the agreement, RBS acknowledges its commission of wire fraud and antitrust violations. According to the facts stipulated to by RBS, the antitrust count was premised entirely on trader-to-trader agreements to submit false rates for use in setting the LIBOR for certain currencies. This deferred prosecution agreement marks the first time the Antitrust Division has held a financial services firm criminally liable under the antitrust laws for a trader-based market manipulation scheme.

Pursuant to the deferred prosecution agreement, the Department of Justice will file criminal wire fraud and antitrust charges against RBS for its admitted involvement in the LIBOR conspiracy, but it will dismiss those charges if RBS: (1) co-operates with the LIBOR investigation; (2) pays a criminal penalty of $150m (£97m); and (3) implements an enhanced compliance programme. The justice department entered this agreement in recognition of the ‘highly valuable information’ RBS has provided toward the advancement of the LIBOR investigation. The justice department further credited RBS for taking significant remedial measures, including the implementation of stronger controls and the termination of responsible individuals…

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