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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Royal Bank of Scotland Group <RBS.L> has agreed to hand over documents demanded by Canada in its probe into whether the bank was involved in a global interest rate-rigging scandal, Canada's Competition Bureau said on Friday.
The move marked a reversal for RBS, which had launched a legal challenge against the bureau's demand for internal documents. The Competition Bureau is trying to determine whether RBS and several other banks sought to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor).
The bank's decision to hand over the documents "comes approximately 18 months after the launch of the (RBS) challenge and will allow the bureau to move forward with its investigation of alleged collusive conduct into the setting of Yen Libor rates," the bureau stated.
RBS now has until June 28 to produce the documents.
More than a dozen banks are under investigation by authorities in Europe, Japan, the United States and Canada over suspected Libor rate rigging between 2007 and 2010. Officials are considering reforms to safeguard the integrity of Libor, which is used in financial contracts worth hundreds of trillions of dollars globally.
RBS has repeatedly said it was cooperating fully with the Canadian investigators and that it only challenged their methods for obtaining information due to confidentiality concerns, but was willing to find alternative ways of turning over the documents.
RBS did not immediately say why it abandoned its legal challenge.
"RBS continues to cooperate with the Competition Bureau in this matter," said RBS spokesman Ed Canaday on Friday after the announcement.
(Reporting by Randall Palmer and Louise Egan; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)