Rumour has it that the European Commission has offered several banks under suspicion of Euribor rigging the possibility to settle, to avoid hefty fees, in order to speed up the investigation.
Sources close to the investigation told Reuters that Antitrust Commissioner Joaquin Almunia “wants decisions on the cases by the end of the year.” If the banks were to tke up the offer the investigation could be concluded as soon as this year.
However, the same sources revealed that many banks are resisting a settlement, as they do not believe the charges can hold. If a bank opposes a settlement and then is found guilty, it could mean a fine equivalent to 10% of their annual revenue. This could be multiplied by three if the bank is guilty of manipulating more than one benchmark rate.
The beginning of 2013 has already seen RBS being fined by both the US and UK authorities. Other banks, which have also been affected by the scandal, might be tempted by the Commission’s offer as a way out for their growing legal fees.
The Commissioner has declined to comment on the possibility of the settlements.