New York City, USA: Citibank settled a lawsuit filed by attorneys general in 42 states for $100 million after an investigation for fraudulent conduct found the bank manipulated Libor, a benchmark interest rate that helps set lending rates globally and that this manipulation affected financial instruments worth trillions of dollars.
The settlement was announced Friday by several of the states, which alleged Citigroup misrepresented the integrity of the Libor benchmark to state and local governmental, not-for-profit organizations and institutional trading counterparties.
“Our office has zero tolerance for fraudulent or manipulative conduct that undermines our financial markets,” New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in a news release. “Financial institutions have a basic responsibility to play by the rules — and we will continue to hold those accountable who don’t.”
Governmental and not-for-profit entities who have investment contracts with Citibank will be notified if they are eligible to receive part of the settlement funds.
The accord is the latest development in probes by governments around the globe into banks’ manipulation of benchmark interest rates, one of the key scandals that led to a cultural overhaul of the industry over the past decade.
Global fines have topped $9 billion.
Citibank is the third bank that settled with state attorneys general for illegally influencing the Libor, following Barclays and Deutsche Bank, which have been fined $420 million collectively.
In October, Deutsche Bank paid 45 states $220 million in penalties and disgorgements to resolve U.S. and U.K. investigations, and a unit pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with its role in the scandal.
Citibank also agreed to comply with ongoing investigations into other banks’ Libor cases.
Citi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.