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UK fraud investigators close Libor probe with no further charges

The U.K. Serious Fraud Office has closed its yearslong investigation into the alleged manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, following a thorough and detailed review of the available evidence.

The SFO said the decision was taken in line with the test in the Code for Crown Prosecutors and that no additional charges will be brought.

The regulator prosecuted 13 individuals in connection with the alleged rigging of the benchmark interest rate, with charges brought against former Barclays PLC traders Jonathan Matthew, Jay Merchant and Alex Pabon in 2016 and former UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. banker Tom Hayes in 2015.

Six individuals were acquitted on charges of manipulating the Japanese yen Libor and two were found not guilty of rigging the U.S. dollar Libor between January 2016 and April 2017.

The closure of the investigation comes despite evidence that focuses on the role of the Bank of England in the matter and the practice of low-balling, where senior bank managers requested that Libor estimates be adjusted to benefit their trading positions, BBC News reported.

An audio recording obtained by the broadcaster suggested that the central bank told Barclays to lower its Libor estimates as early as Sept. 1, 2007. However, senior Barclays bankers and BoE officials told the U.K. Parliament in 2012 that they were not aware of the low-balling practice until the same year.