US accuses former Société Générale bank managers of Libor scheme

Banks including Societe Generale use Libor to set rates on hundreds of trillions of dollars of mortgages, credit cards and other loans. (Reuters)
Updated 25 August 2017
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US accuses former Société Générale bank managers of Libor scheme

WASHINGTON: US authorities have charged two managers at French bank Société Générale with taking part in a scheme to manipulate the global US dollar Libor benchmark interest rate.
Danielle Sindzingre, 54, the bank’s former global head of treasury, and her subordinate Muriel Bescond, 49, its former head of treasury in Paris, were accused in an indictment filed in a New York federal court of submitting false information about the rates at which the bank was able to borrow money.
The two defendants are not currently in the US, according to John Marzulli, a spokesman for US prosecutors in Brooklyn. He declined to comment on whether or when they might be extradited.
Attorneys for the defendants could not immediately be identified.
SocGen said on Friday it was co-operating with authorities over the matter.
“Société Générale has received formal requests for information from several authorities, including the US Department of Justice, in connection with investigations regarding submissions to the British Bankers Association for setting certain benchmark rates, including the London Interbank Offered Rates (Libor),” it said in a statement.
“Société Générale is cooperating with the investigating authorities,” it added.
Sindzingre is currently listed on the bank’s website as global co-head of fixed income, credit and currencies. Bescond’s LinkedIn page says she is global head of short-term derivatives.
Banks use Libor to set rates on hundreds of trillions of dollars of mortgages, credit cards and other loans. Libor rates in several different currencies are calculated based on banks’ reports of how much interest they pay to borrow money.
Prosecutors said that from about May 2010 to October 2011, Sindzingre, Bescond and several other people who are not charged or named in the indictment caused Société Générale to report false lower rates that were used to set the US dollar Libor.
According to the indictment, the scheme aimed to shore up the bank’s reputation after outside analysts drew attention to higher-than-average interest rates Société Générale had been reporting.
The false reports at times led to lower US dollar Libor rates, affecting millions of transactions tied to the benchmark and causing over $170 million in harm to global financial markets, prosecutors said.
The indictment said that in about June 2010, Sindzingre became concerned that the false reports could catch the attention of financial regulators, and suggested to her superiors that they begin to increase the reported rates to match the bank’s actual borrowing rate. Nonetheless, the false reports continued, according to the indictment.
Sindzingre and Bescond are charged with conspiracy and transmitting false reports.
Banks have paid roughly $9 billion to resolve Libor-rigging probes worldwide, and several people have been convicted of criminal charges.


US won’t send officials to China’s Belt and Road forum

Updated 1 min 57 sec ago
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US won’t send officials to China’s Belt and Road forum

  • Leaders from 37 countries and officials from dozens more are expected to attend the Belt and Road Forum from Thursday to Saturday
  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told journalists at a briefing last week that American diplomats, state government representatives and members of the business community will be attending the forum

BEIJING: Washington will not send officials to a Beijing summit on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature global infrastructure project, the US embassy said Wednesday amid a raft of disputes between the two powers.
Leaders from 37 countries and officials from dozens more are expected to attend the Belt and Road Forum from Thursday to Saturday, but Washington has dismissed the initiative as a “vanity project.”
“The United States has no plans to send officials from Washington to the Belt and Road Forum,” a US embassy spokesperson told AFP in an email.
“We call upon all countries to ensure that their economic diplomacy initiatives adhere to internationally-accepted norms and standards, promote sustainable, inclusive development, and advance good governance and strong economic institutions,” the spokesperson said.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told journalists at a briefing last week that American diplomats, state government representatives and members of the business community will be attending the forum.
At the first Belt and Road summit in 2017, the US was represented by White House adviser Matt Pottinger.
Since then, more countries have signed up to Belt and Road, most notably Italy, which became the first G7 nation to join the global scheme that aims to link Asia to Europe and Africa through massive investments in maritime, road and rail projects.