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10 July 2012 at 10:42 BST

Firm builds Chinese wall to advise on Libor scandal

One of the world's biggest law firms is to walk a conflicts tightrope in the interbank interest rate rigging scandal currently rampaging through the British banking sector, it emerged yesterday.

RBS: state-owned bank seeking Libor advice

RBS: state-owned bank seeking Libor advice

Magic circle titan Clifford Chance has been instructed by both under-fire Barclays and the predominantly state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland to advise on the ramifications of the fallout of the London Interbank Borrowing Rate debacle. Barclays has been fined nearly £300 million by regulators in the US and UK in a row that has already claimed the chief executive’s scalp and threatens to escalate into criminal prosecutions.

False accounting

London-based Legal Week newspaper reports that the Canary Wharf-headquartered firm will erect a ‘Chinese wall ... to avoid potential conflicts’ of interest between the two banks. The report says that Barclays is also continuing to instruct US law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, which originally advised on the bank’s settlement in the US for interest rate manipulation and false accounting.
It is widely anticipated that Barclays will not be the only bank coughing up to transatlantic regulators. And according to the newspaper, Clifford Chance will also advise RBS – a long-standing existing client – on ‘Libor-related issues’
The firm told the newspaper that it had set up independent teams to deal with the two banks, with the report pointing out that practice rules in England allow such behaviour provided the law firm obtains prior client consent.


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