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Here's the part that makes me skeptical: They're going after "individual" traders? Are we really supposed to believe that this scandal doesn't go all the way to the top? Isn't this the sort of thing Sarbanes-Oxley was supposed to fix? Because either way, the executives running the banks are supposed to take legal responsibility - and so are the board members. We're supposed to believe these were simply individual acts? Nah, I'm not buying it:
American prosecutors and European regulators are close to arresting individual traders over the Libor scandal and charging them with colluding to manipulate global benchmark interest rates, according to sources familiar with the investigation.
Federal prosecutors in Washington DC have recently contacted lawyers representing some of the individuals under suspicion to notify them that criminal charges and arrests could be imminent, said two sources speaking anonymously.
Defence lawyers representing individuals under suspicion said prosecutors have indicated they will begin making arrests and filing charges in the next few weeks. In long-running financial investigations it is not uncommon for prosecutors to contact defence lawyers for individuals before filing charges to offer them a chance to co-operate or take a plea, the lawyers said.
Alongside the investigation into how traders allegedly sought to influence the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, and other global rates there in an effort by regulators to punish major banks with fines.
"The individual criminal charges have no impact on the regulatory moves against the banks," said a European source familiar with the matter. "But banks are hoping that at least regulators will see that the scandal was mainly due to individual misbehaviour of a gang of traders."
"More than a handful of traders at different banks are involved," said the source.
There are also probes in Europe concerning Euribor, the Euro Interbank Offered Rate.
It is not clear what individuals and banks federal prosecutors are most focused on. A top US Department of Justice lawyer overseeing the investigation did not respond to a request for a comment.