Australia’s ANZ bank suspends seven traders

ANZ, one of Australia’s biggest banks, has suspended seven traders as part of an inquiry into the potential rigging of key interbank interest rates.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has been investigating the country’s interbank market since mid-2012.

Nigel Williams, chief risk officer of ANZ, said it was co-operating fully with ASIC.

The bank has been also been conducting its own investigation.

Mr Williams said: “This is a complex issue and ASIC’s investigation and ANZ’s internal review may not be complete for some time. In light of this, we are taking the precaution of having seven staff involved in markets trading step down pending completion of the investigation into practices to 2013.”

ANZ said it was not appropriate to comment further while the investigations were completed.

Regulators have been examining rate-setting mechanisms after banks including Barclays, RBS and UBS were fined billions for rigging Libor, the London interbank offered rate.

Earlier this year, ASIC censured French lender BNP Paribas and Royal Bank of Scotland after revealing that its traders tried to influence the setting of Australia’s interbank rate.

Australia scrapped its interbank rate-setting system last year after several banks decided to leave the panel. It was the first major market to dismantle the structure.

Shares in ANZ fell 0.2%, or 6 cents, to .77 in afternoon trading in Sydney. ANZ is valued at 87.7bn Australian dollars (bn; £48.6bn) – more than either RBS or Barclays.

Last month it announced a record full-year net profit of A.3bn, up 15% from a year earlier.