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Thomson Reuters in pitch to run new Libor

File photo of a plaque featuring the logo for Thomson Reuters company in Paris.

JACKY NAEGELEN/REUTERS

Thomson Reuters, the data provider responsible for the administration of Libor, wants to run a toughened new system after being assured by U.K. regulators that it is not being investigated over attempts to rig global interest rates.

It is set to join its main rival Bloomberg among the bidders to operate the new system.

U.K. regulator the Financial Services Authority has proposed that the future administration of the London interbank offered rate should continue to be operated by a private organization. Martin Wheatley, the FSA managing director, wants to establish links between submissions from banks and transactions on markets to boost Libor's credibility.

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Libor is the umbrella term for global benchmarks that underpin the terms of $350-trillion of contracts, from mortgages to the cost of corporate lending. They are set daily after the world's leading banks submit their own estimates of borrowing rates.

Thomson Reuters has been assured by the Bank of England and the FSA that it is not under investigation.

David Craig, president of Financial & Risk at Thomson Reuters, said the group believed it had a role to play. "One of the challenges is that you cannot change Libor overnight."

Mr. Craig's comments come a day after the sprawling Libor investigation gained pace after the first arrests. The U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office and police arrested three British men and questioned them. The suspects are Tom Hayes, a former trader at UBS and Citigroup, and two brokers from RP Martin, Jim Gilmour and Terry Farr, people familiar with the investigation told the FT.

All three were released on bail pending further investigation and no charges were laid. Typically in complex economic crime probes in the U.K. there is a time lag between arrest and any possible charge, which can even lapse into years.

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