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Big bank fights investigation of rate rigging

The Royal Bank of Scotland, one of more than 10 banks under scrutiny from authorities around the globe, is refusing to turn over crucial information to Canadian regulators, court documents from Ottawa show.

Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

The Royal Bank of Scotland, one of more than 10 banks under scrutiny from authorities around the globe, is refusing to turn over crucial information to Canadian regulators, court documents from Ottawa show.

Even as lawmakers in London hammered a top Barclays executive over the bank’s role in a rate-rigging scandal, another financial firm that is largely owned by the British government is fighting an investigation into the vast scheme.

The Royal Bank of Scotland, one of more than 10 banks under scrutiny from authorities around the globe, is refusing to turn over crucial information to Canadian regulators, court documents from Ottawa show.

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The bank, which is 82 percent owned by the British government, is an unlikely foe.

British lawmakers have taken the lead in publicly shaming executives and regulators who failed to curb interest rate manipulation before and after the 2008 financial crisis. And the pushback comes in contrast to the more conciliatory approach of several institutions ensnared by the global investigation.

Barclays, which last month agreed to pay $450 million to British and American authorities for improperly influencing interest rates, cooperated with the multiyear case. At least two other European institutions are scrambling to strike deals with the authorities, according to lawyers close to the case.

The Canadian court documents, collected over the last year, hinted that two other big banks were aiding authorities. Those banks are UBS and Citigroup, according to people close to the matter.

Many banks are trying to avoid the fallout that has hit Barclays, which has prompted the resignation of two top executives. On Monday, British politicians took aim at one of the Barclays executives, Jerry del Missier, the bank’s former chief operating officer. Barclays was ‘‘up to its armpits in dishonest activity,’’ said Pat McFadden, a British politician who sits on the committee overseeing the testimony.

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For its part, the Royal Bank of Scotland on Monday said it was ‘‘cooperating with regulators in their investigations.” But in the court documents, the bank said it was unable to share certain information with Canada’s Competition Bureau because of British law. Further, the bank said that sharing the documents would amount to an ‘‘unreasonable search and seizure’’ and violate its ‘‘privilege against self-incrimination.’’

UBS, the big Swiss bank, is a central target in the broader investigation.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is pursuing a potential civil case against the bank, according to people briefed on the matter. UBS has also already reached an immunity deal with an arm of the Justice Department.

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