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Regulator recommends Libor overhaul

LONDON, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Martin Wheatley of Britain's Financial Services Authority said Friday administration of the London Interbank Offered Rate requires a systematic overhaul.

"The disturbing events we have uncovered in the manipulation of Libor have severely damaged our confidence and our trust -- it has torn the very fabric that our financial system is built on," Wheatley said in remarks accompanying completion of an investigation into bank malfeasance connected to the Libor benchmark, which is supposed to be the average borrowing rate among commercial banks when they loan each other money.

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The report recommends a new system for Libor processing, with banks required to provide "relevant trade data" so regulators can double-check the accuracy of the submissions, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

The report recommends the British Banking Association be stripped of its Libor administration duties and the task be assigned to the Financial Conduct Authority, which Wheatley will head when it opens next year.

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Barclays recently settled charges that it was manipulating the figures it submitted that went into the Libor assessment. The bank agreed to pay $450 million to settle the case.

Other large banks have been frequently mentioned as Libor manipulators, but no others have been fined.

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The recommendations include making it a criminal offense to manipulate the Libor, which is used to help set the rate of $300 trillion in financial contracts.

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"We can't allow the unfettered attitude that banks enjoyed previously. Much greater rigor and transparency must be introduced to the process of submission," Wheatley said.

Bank of England Gov. Mervyn King said the central bank "very much welcomes the Wheatley review's proposals to improve the functioning, governance and regulation of Libor and would want these to be implemented as soon as possible."

Barclays had no comment on the report, the newspaper said.

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