On Sept. 18, a U.S. federal judge in Connecticut approved a $100 million fine payable by UBS Securities Japan, the latest development in the global LIBOR rate manipulation investigation. Authorities have been investigating more than a dozen banks that they believe falsified reports to influence benchmark interest (LIBOR) rates. Prosecutors largely have focused on Japanese units because email traffic exposed how traders there had routinely manipulated rates to increase profits.
The fine imposed on UBS Japan (jointly proposed by prosecutors and UBS Japan) follows the foreign subsidiary’s guilty plea to felony wire transfer in December 2012, the first global bank subsidiary to plead guilty in more than two decades. The fine is in addition to almost $1 billion in regulatory penalties and disgorgement already imposed.
The guilty pleas secured by regulation authorities may be indicative of a larger strategy by the DOJ to prosecute big banks and the financial industry in general following criticism for not pursuing Wall Street more vigorously after the 2008 financial crisis.