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Societe Generale to pay $750 million to settle LIBOR manipulation charges

Societe Generale will pay a total of $750 million to settle charges by the CFTC and the U.S. Justice Department that the bank manipulated the London interbank offered rate, both federal agencies announced Monday.

The settlements were announced along with an additional combined $585 million penalty against Societe Generale by the Justice Department and Parquet National Financier, the French federal regulator, relating to a multiyear scheme to pay bribes to officials in Libya. The bank will pay $292.5 million each to U.S. and French authorities to settle the bribery charges.

In total, Societe Generale will pay $1.335 billion in the settlements announced Monday.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission assessed a $475 million penalty on charges that Societe Generale manipulated and falsely reported LIBOR for U.S. dollar, yen and euro, and the euro interbank offered rate, according to a news release from the CFTC.

The bank also agreed to plead guilty in U.S. District Court in New York and pay $275 million to settle Justice Department charges that the bank falsely deflated U.S. dollar LIBOR submissions, allowing Societe Generale "to create the appearance that it was stronger and more creditworthy than it was," a separate news release from the Justice Department said.

According to the Justice Department news release, Societe Generale's senior executives ordered the managers of the company's treasury department to oversee the U.S. dollar LIBOR deflation effort between May 2010 and at least October 2011. Also, in 2006, Societe Generale employees in London and Tokyo worked together to manipulate the bank's Japanese yen LIBOR submissions.

Danielle Sindzingre, former Societe Generale global treasury head, and Muriel Bescond, former head of treasury in Paris, were indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2017 for their roles in the LIBOR manipulation scheme. Both individuals remain at large, the Justice Department said.

Societe Generale in a news release acknowledged the settlements but said it would not comment further on terms of the agreements.

The Societe Generale LIBOR settlements were the latest involving major banks. Deutsche Bank in October 2017 agreed to a combined $220 million settlement with 45 states over manipulation of the interest-rate benchmark, and Barclays Capital in August 2016 reached a $100 million settlement with 43 states over LIBOR manipulation by its Barclays Capital investment bank subsidiary.