RBS execs focused on its "cardiac arrest", not Libor

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February 12, 2013 3:21 AM EST

Royal Bank of Scotland's management failed to spot the manipulation of benchmark interest rates by traders because they were focused on keeping the bank alive, the head of its investment bank told lawmakers.

"When we took control of the bank it had had a cardiac arrest. We had to priorities dealing with the existential threat to the bank," John Hourican, who is leaving the bank following the scandal, told the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards on Monday.

Peter Nielsen, head of RBS's markets division, said the bank is unlikely to have made money out of any manipulation by its traders. He also said he had discussed resigning with Hourican in the wake of the affair but decided to stay on. Hourican said he had told Chief Executive Stephen Hester that Nielsen should stay.

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Steve Slater)

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