Major banks, which often band together when facing government scrutiny, are now turning on one another as an international investigation into the manipulation of interest rates gains momentum.
With billions of dollars and their reputations on the line, financial institutions have been spreading the blame in recent meetings with authorities, according to government and bank officials with knowledge of the matter. While acknowledging their own wrongdoing, institutions are pointing out actions at other banks that they believe are worse — and in some cases, extend to top executives.
The Swiss bank UBS [UBS 10.77 0.51 (+4.97%) ], which has a history of regulatory run-ins, has shared e-mails, instant messages and other information suggesting it had colluded with traders at Deutsche Bank [DB 31.20 2.85 (+10.05%) ], HSBC [HBC 43.68 1.81 (+4.32%) ] and the Royal Bank of Scotland [RBS 6.81 0.46 (+7.24%) ] to manipulate key interest rates, according to court documents and bank employees. In talks with authorities,HSBC is providing its own account of the activities, according to a lawyer briefed on the matter. Citigroup has also detailed rate manipulation with other banks.