The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has dropped a criminal investigation into Libor manipulation at Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY), The Times has reported. Prosecutors have cited ‘insufficient evidence’ for the move.
Lloyds’ share price has climbed higher in today’s session, having added 0.79 percent to 62.50p as of 13:02 BST. The stock is outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.22 percent in the red at 7,576.57 points. The group’s shares have lost nearly six percent of their value over the past year, as compared with about a three-percent gain in the Footsie.
SFO drops Libor probe
The Times reported this morning that the SFO had written to Lloyds and the former traders, saying they were no longer under investigation with the case having failed to meet the threshold required for a prosecution.
“Having thoroughly investigated and having reviewed the information available to it, the SFO has concluded there was insufficient evidence to take the matter further in respect of these individuals and banks,” prosecutors said.
The newspaper notes that several former Lloyds employees were interviewed under caution by the fraud office over Libor rigging last year, several years after the investigation was opened. None of those questioned, however, has been identified.
The news marks a boost for the FTSE 100 group, removing one legal challenge for the bailed-out lender. Lloyds, however, remains under pressure over its HBOS division, with lawmakers having called for a probe into the group’s handling of a fraud at the unit’s Reading office.
Analysts on Lloyds
Credit Suisse reaffirmed Lloyds as an ‘outperform’ last week, valuing the shares at 85p. According to MarketBeat, the bailed-out lender currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 75.35p.
Lloyds is scheduled to update investors on its half-year performance on August 1.