EU says Libor scandal amounts to anti-trust offence

European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia warned banks and traders on Friday that any involvement in the Libor rate-rigging scandal would be considered a serious prejudice to competition.

In a version of a speech in Paris on Friday, and distributed to the press, he said: "If practises of collusion are shown to be true, it will constitute a serious prejudice to the development of healthy competition on financial markets."

His remarks come against a background of reluctance by some banks to enter into talks with EU competition authorities on what they consider to be unfounded allegations of malpractice, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Friday.

The report said that the European Commission wanted to increase fines if rate-rigging were proved to 10.0 percent of turnover per financial institution concerned and up to 30.0 percent for any bank found to be guilty in all three areas under investigation by EU officials.