The banks and market manipulation: A financial strain analysis of the libor fraud

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Lokanan, Mark
Financial market
The London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) is considered to be the most important interest rate in finance upon which trillions in financial contracts are decided. In 2008, it was revealed that the LIBOR traders were rigging the interest rates. Yet, there is an unresolved question that regulators and banking officials did not address in their quest to seek answers to the fraud: Were the banks under financial strain when they underreported their LIBOR rates? To answer this question, the article posits that the pressure to meet market expectations led the banks to experience financial strain. Data were gathered from 2004 to 2008 on the banks that were involved in the fraud (fraud banks) and matched with a control group of non-fraud banks. The results from a logistic regression model found sufficient statistical evidence to support the claim that fraud will be greater in banks characterized by a higher level of organizational complexity. Variables such as percent of outside directors, board members on the audit committee, and number of employees were all found to be statistically significant. These variables may offer key insights into detecting and preventing frauds in banks.
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