Dutch Justice dept examines Rabobank's role in Libor: report

The Dutch justice department requested information from Rabobank , on behalf of foreign investigators, concerning the role it may have played in the manipulation of interbank lending rates, a Dutch newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The Dutch agricultural cooperative bank was accused in September 2011 by some U.S. investors, along with other international banks, of manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) between 2006 and 2009, in a scandal which has now engulfed a dozen or more major banks around the world.

Rabobank is a member of the panel that sets Libor, a benchmark for the rate at which banks lend to each other and which underlies financial contracts from mortgages to complex derivatives worth trillions of dollars.

Rabobank spokesman Hendrik Jan Eijpe declined to comment on Tuesday's report in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that the Dutch justice ministry made requests on behalf of foreign parties. He reiterated comments he made earlier in the year that international investigators are focusing on Rabobank and that Rabobank is fully cooperating with the investigations.

Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad reported in July that Rabobank had fired four employees between 2008 and last year over the manipulation of interbank lending rates. Later the same day, the Dutch central bank and financial markets authority confirmed they were also conducting investigations into the matter.

(Reporting by Roberta B. Cowan; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)