German watchdog Bafin expects Libor probe findings by end-March

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German markets regulator Bafin said preliminary findings from its probe into Deutsche Bank <DBKGn.DE> over suspected manipulation of interbank lending rates would be passed on to Berlin by the end of March.

"We stick with the first quarter," Elke Koenig, head of Bafin, said in response to a question about when it would pass on initial findings to Berlin's Finance Ministry.

Bafin has no plans to publish the findings of its report. Koenig declined to comment on the contents of the probe, adding she herself had not yet seen the Bafin report.

Bafin is conducting a so-called special probe - the most severe form of investigation it can undertake - into Deutsche Bank over suspected manipulation of interbank lending rates.

Investigators in the United States, Europe and Japan are examining more than a dozen big banks over suspected rigging of the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor).

The Libor rates, compiled from estimates by large banks of how much they believe they have to pay to borrow from each other, are used to determine interest rates on trillions of dollars worth of contracts around the world.

Last year Deutsche Bank said it had received subpoenas and requests for information from U.S. and European authorities in connection with setting interbank rates.

(Reporting By Alexander Huebner and Jonathan Gould; Writing by Edward Taylor; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)