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RBS: Currency probe bigger than Libor

London - An investigation into alleged manipulation of foreign exchange markets could pose a bigger problem for banks than the Libor interest rate rigging scandal, the boss of Royal Bank of Scotland said on Friday.

RBS paid $612 million last year to settle allegations that it manipulated Libor rates, one of several banks hit with big fines for rigging financial benchmarks.

A man leaves an RBS building London May 2, 2014. Credit: Reuters

Regulators are now investigating allegations that traders manipulated key reference rates in the $5 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market.

Asked if the FX investigation could be a bigger problem for the industry than Libor, RBS chief executive Ross McEwan said: “Unfortunately, it has the hallmarks”.

McEwan, speaking on LBC radio, added: “We're still doing a lot of investigation. We're going through just millions and millions of emails, chatrooms, conversations to see what actually went wrong, if anything, in this area.

“Unfortunately, I have the feeling that this is a sort of Libor case again.

“The difference this time is that we haven't sat back and denied it. We've gone into it and are doing the investigation hand-in-hand with the authorities.”

McEwan said it was another problem from the past that banks need to clean up to be able to move on. - Reuters

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