Top U.S. Justice Department lawyers defended the non-prosecution agreement with UBS AG and the guilty plea of a Japanese subsidiary, calling the $1.5 billion global deal with the bank a “very robust, very real and very appropriate resolution,” the National Law Journal reports. The Japanese subsidiary of UBS was charged with felony wire fraud for its role in the long-running manipulation of a leading interest rate benchmark, the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR.
Fearing potential “collateral consequences” of a criminal indictment against UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, DOJ officials said they weighed a variety of factors in deciding how to resolve the criminal allegations. The non-prosecution agreement recognized the bank’s cooperation with enforcement officials. “Our goal here is not to destroy a major financial institution,” said Lanny Breuer, the assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division. Breuer rejected the notion that U.S. authorities failed to be as aggressive as possible in confronting the misconduct at UBS. “I don’t know what tougher means,” Breuer said. “Today, we announced a criminal plea of a major financial institution, a Japanese subsidiary of a very major institution. We brought charges against two traders. We brought a very robust, real non-prosecution agreement. We have a $500 million penalty.”