Former RBS trader says any RBS employee could have manipulated Libor

Tan Chi Min, a former trader at the Royal Bank of Scotland who is suing for wrongful dismissal, recently said that lax internal bank controls could have easily allowed staff members to manipulate Libor.

Tan said in court documents filed in Singapore that the bank’s minutes of his disciplinary meeting omit details of conversations regarding how bank traders attempted to manipulate London interbank offered rate — or Libor — submissions.

Tan also claimed that he told participants in the disciplinary meeting that it seemed “anyone can change Libor,” City A.M. reports.

RBS revealed in its first half results that its Libor-related activities are currently under investigation by regulatory authorities, including the Japanese Financial Services Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice’s fraud department and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Tan said that the details omitted from meeting minutes include reference to a March 2008 conversation regarding Libor rate submission. Tan said that Will Hall, another RBS trader, altered the Libor submission, though he was part of the London-based Japanese yen swap desk.

Tan also claimed in the court papers that the disciplinary meeting included discussion of a March 2011 Bloomberg messenger conversation in which Paul White, a rate setter for RBS, told trader Robert Brennan that he wanted to fix Libor high and that Brennan further mentioned this to traders in a later conference call, Business Recorder reports.

RBS disputes the allegations, saying Tan was dismissed from his position due to misconduct and that the dismissal followed company disciplinary policy.

“We confirm, per our disclosures during our interim results on [Aug. 3], that we have dismissed a number of employees for misconduct as a result of our investigations into the setting of Libor and other interest rates,” a Singapore-based spokeswoman for RBS said, according to Business Recorder. “RBS Group continues to cooperate fully with ongoing investigations relating to the setting of Libor and other interest rates.”

Tan was fired from his Singapore-based position as head of delta trading for RBS’s banking and markets department in November for attempting to influence the bank’s rate setters.

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