RBS close to Libor settlement with U.S., UK authorities: WSJ

Royal Bank of Scotland Group is close to a 500 million pounds ($785.32 million) settlement with U.S. and British authorities over claims that some of its employees submitted false Libor rates, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people briefed on the negotiations.

The settlement would involve the British bank pleading guilty to criminal charges in addition to paying a penalty. However, RBS executives are resisting any guilty plea, the Journal said.

The deal is expected to close within the next two weeks, the Journal reported. (http://link.reuters.com/net55t)

Royal Bank of Scotland would be the third bank after Barclays Plc and UBS AG to settle allegations over submitting false Libor rates.

Britain's Barclays was fined $453 million in June for manipulating Libor benchmark interest rates, while UBS paid about $1.5 billion in December.

"Discussions with various authorities in relation to Libor setting are ongoing. We continue to cooperate fully with their investigations," RBS spokesman Michael Strachan told the Journal.

RBS, which is majority owned by the British government, could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside of regular UK business hours.

(Reporting by Aditi Shrivastava in Bangalore; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)