Royal Bank of Scotland has suspended its head of rates trading in Europe and Asia Pacific, the most senior employee to be put on leave so far as the bank investigates its alleged role in the interbank lending rate scandals.
Jezri Mohideen was suspended last week as part of the bank's continuing investigation into the interbank rate-setting affair, according to two people close to the bank. RBS dismissed four traders last year but Mr Mohideen is the most senior employee and the first senior manager to be put on leave. He was head of rates trading in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.
RBS declined to comment on Mr. Mohideen's case but said in a statement: "Our investigations into submissions, communications and procedures relating to the setting of Libor and other interest rates are ongoing. RBS and its employees continue to co-operate fully with regulators."
Mr Mohideen could not be reached for comment.
The bank has not requested a suspension of his authorisation by the Financial Services Authority, people close to the situation said.
The news comes at a difficult time for RBS after the collapse of a deal to sell more than 300 bank branches to Spain's Santander.
The bank is braced for a large penalty from regulators over its alleged involvement in the attempted manipulation of Libor, the interbank borrowing benchmark, following the £290 million fine handed down to Barclays this year.
Recent court filings by a former Singapore-based trader at RBS have placed the bank under fresh scrutiny over alleged attempts to manipulate Libor.
In papers filed at the high court in Singapore in recent months Tan Chi Min – also known as Jimmy Tan – said it had been part of his duties to provide the bank's Libor rate-setters with "input" and that RBS had condoned the practice.
Mr. Tan was dismissed by the bank late last year for alleged gross misconduct relating to the setting of Libor. He is suing the bank for wrongful dismissal.
Mr Tan said in papers filed in the case this summer that his rate-setting input – which he gave between 2007 and 2011 – came verbally at meetings that were convened daily at 4.30pm Singapore time, involving other traders in London and Singapore.
Mr Mohideen's suspension was related to its internal review of the rate-setting process, and not as a result of Mr. Tan's lawsuit, people familiar with the matter said.
Additional reporting by Patrick Jenkins, Brooke Masters and Daniel Schäfer