UBS AG agreed to pay $68 million as part of settlement with 39 U.S. states and the District of Columbia related to the Swiss banking giant's alleged manipulation of the London interbank offered rate.
Led by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, the UBS settlement is the latest in a string of agreements state regulators have recently reached with banks that were allegedly altering Libor submissions for their own benefit leading up to and around the financial crisis of 2008.
UBS was accused of misrepresenting its U.S. dollar-tied Libor submissions to protect its reputation, according to a press release from Underwood's office. The 40 attorneys general who were part of the settlement also claimed UBS manipulated Yen Libor submissions to favor its derivative trading positions.
For decades, Libor was the world's preferred benchmark reference rate, helping price complex derivative products, mortgages and corporate debt. But the rate fell out of favor with a rate-rigging scandal in 2012 that raised questions about Libor's validity. Regulators in the U.S. are urging market participants to move to a new rate known as the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, as Libor submissions will cease in 2021.
Several other banks, including Citigroup Inc., Barclays PLC and Deutsche Bank AG, have also reached settlements with U.S. state attorneys general who are currently investigating Libor manipulation. The four banks that have settled thus far have paid fines related to Libor manipulation claims totaling $488 million, according to Underwood's office.
In 2017, UBS, along with eight other banks, was named as a defendant in a U.K. case over Libor manipulation brought by the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.