UK court issues injunction against Wall Street Journal in Libor bank rate fixing case

LONDON – The publisher of the Wall Street Journal pledged Friday to fight an injunction preventing publication of the names of traders who may be implicated in the rate-rigging case involving the London interbank offered rate, or LIBOR.

Dow Jones & Co. said it had published on several of its platforms the names of about two dozen traders and brokers whom British prosecutors are expected to identify. The journal says the story noted that the list could change, and inclusion didn’t mean the individuals would be charged with a crime.

“This injunction is a serious affront to press freedom,” the company said in a statement. “We have been left with no choice but to remove the previously published story from and to withhold publication from the print edition of The Wall Street Journal Europe. However, we will continue to vigorously fight the injunction in the coming days.”

The order applies to publication in England and Wales. The newspaper’s article on the issue said that while the story was taken down from its website, it appeared in print editions of the newspaper published in the United States and in Asia.

British authorities routinely impose reporting restrictions to safeguard rights of defendants and to prevent the emergence of details that could derail investigations.

The order was issued on an interim basis until a court hearing at London’s Southwark Crown Court next week.

LIBOR is a benchmark rate that underpins trillions of dollars in transactions all over the world. It is an average measuring how much banks expect to charge each other for loans. It is used in calculating borrowing costs of loans and investments such as bonds, auto loans and derivatives.

The scandal shook the financial world when it emerged that banks — including Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and UBS — were submitting false data to gain market advantages.