Citigroup Inc. (C) said the Justice Department declined to prosecute the bank after a probe into rigging of the London Interbank Offered Rate. Other U.S. and international authorities are still investigating.
The Justice Department advised the third-biggest U.S. bank by assets that it made the decision “based on the facts and circumstances as the Department of Justice currently understands them,” New York-based Citigroup said Monday in a regulatory filing. It “decided to decline prosecution with respect to Libor,” Citigroup said.
Libor benchmarks have been at the center of a scandal since 2008, with investigators in Europe, the U.S. and Asia probing allegations that traders at the world’s biggest banks manipulated the rates and similar indexes to benefit some investment positions. In 2013, Citigroup agreed to pay 70 million euros ($78 million) as one of six banks to settle with the European Union over allegations they rigged interest rates tied to Libor.
“The criminal case, which has ensnared other banks, has passed by Citigroup,” Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, said in an e-mail. “So while not a complete free pass, it takes away what many perceive to be the greatest threat, which is from the Department of Justice.”
Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment, as did Mark Costiglio, a bank spokesman. Steve Adamske, a spokesman for the CFTC, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment and a media representative for the Swiss agency couldn’t be reached after business hours in Bern.
Deutsche Bank AG was ordered last month to pay a record $2.5 billion fine and fire seven employees to settle U.K. and U.S. investigations, including the CFTC’s, into the case, which New York’s Department of Financial Services said involved a “widespread effort to manipulate benchmark interest rates for financial gain.”