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UBS to pay $1.5 billion over rate-rigging scandal

GENEVA — The Swiss bank UBS agreed Wednesday to pay $1.5 billion in fines for trying to manipulate a key interest rate that affects borrowers around the world.

The settlement was with US, British, and Swiss regulators. The fine against UBS, which will also see two former traders charged with conspiracy, is triple the amount that the British bank Barclays PLC agreed to pay in June to settle similar charges.

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UBS said some of its employees tried to rig the Libor rate — short for London interbank offered rate — in several currencies. The rate is set daily using information that banks provide to price trillions of dollars in contracts, including mortgages and credit cards.

Some UBS traders voluntarily submitted — or pressured others to submit — inaccurate data to gain a financial advantage. The bank’s Japan unit, where much of the manipulation took place, entered a plea to one count of wire fraud in an agreement with the US Justice Department.

Justice said two former UBS senior traders, Tom Alexander William Hayes, 33, of Britain, and Roger Darin, 41, of Switzerland, will be charged with conspiracy, while Hayes also will be charged with wire fraud.

UBS will pay $1.2 billion of its fine to the Justice Department and US Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The remaining $300 million will go to regulators in Britain and Switzerland.

UBS expects to lose between $2.2 billion and $2.7 billion in the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, it said it ‘‘remains one of the best capitalized banks in the world.’’

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