Economy

Credit Agricole CEO: no deal in rate-rigging probe

PARIS (AP) — French bank Credit Agricole has refused to make a deal with European Union regulators investigating the manipulation of an interest rate that banks use to borrow from one another.

During a conference call to present the company's earnings, CEO Jean-Paul Chifflet said the bank had a "good case" and that he rejected "a deal that would have constituted a recognition of responsibility for our company."

Media reports have suggested some banks are ready to agree to a deal to receive a lesser fine in exchange for admitting to colluding to manipulate the EURIBOR rate used by European banks. Like the broader LIBOR, EURIBOR is an average rate that measures how much banks expect to pay each other for loans. They underpin trillions of dollars (euros) in contracts around the world, including mortgages, bonds and consumer loans, and their manipulation can cause significant losses to consumers and investors.

Typically, EU authorities would prefer to conclude deals with all of the banks at the same time, but competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia has said that doesn't have to be the case and any holdouts will continue to be investigated.

Last month, he said the investigation was "well advanced" and that there would be news soon.

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