ANZ Banking Group said it's continuing to co-operate with a probe into possible manipulation of Australia's interest-rate benchmark, amid a report the regulator is on the verge of taking legal action against the bank.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is expected to file a civil action against ANZ in relation to breaches of the law relating to the bank-bill swap rate between 2007 and 2013, The Australian Financial Review reported Monday, without citing sources. An announcement is expected in the next few weeks, the report said.
"We are continuing to co-operate with the ASIC investigation," ANZ said in a statement commenting on the report.
ASIC said in the statement that it didn't comment on its investigations.
The regulator has been investigating the setting of bank bill swap rate since mid-2012. Chairman Greg Medcraft has criticised a lack of co-operation from banks.
The investigation led to the suspension of seven traders at ANZ Bank in November 2014 and voluntary contributions of a combined $3.6 million toward financial literacy projects from Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS and BNP Paribas.
ASIC officials, including commissioner Cathie Armour, are expected to be asked about the investigation when they appear before a Senate committee on Thursday.
Senator Sam Dastyari, who sits on the committee and has closely followed the probe, told ABC radio Monday that sources within ASIC seemed "fairly confident they are on the verge of what will perhaps be the largest ever civil penalty process of its kind".
Other regulators' probes into the rigging of foreign- exchange markets and interest-rate benchmarks has led to lenders across the globe paying billions of dollars in fines.