Stephen Hester
Stephen Hester [Reuters].

The Royal Bank of Scotland's CEO Stephen Hester will not be expected to pay back his 2010 bonus, even though thousands of other staff members will be asked to forfeit their own earnings to fund the Libor-rigging fine imposed on the bank.

Sir Philip Hampton, chairman of RBS, told a press conference: "Stephen [Hester] has only had one bonus in four years and this is severe enough."

Following news that RBS had been fined £390m ($612m/€451m) by US and UK authorities for the manipulation of the benchmark lending rate, Hampton and Hester said that they would be recouping the costs in bonus clawbacks from the investment banking arm which "will affect thousands of people."

Hester took the position of CEO in 2008, and was in charge of RBS for half of the four-year period during which traders attempted to rig the Libor rate.

When asked by journalists at the press conference whether he would be stepping down as CEO, Hester declined to directly say whether he had tendered his resignation or was contemplating the prospect.

"I have said to the board of directors that if they do not have confidence in me, then I cannot do my job. They can still dismiss me at any time," he said.

"When I joined the bank, I was brought in to clean up a huge mess and I believe that RBS has made incredible progress over the years. This has been a soap opera for four years [but] I took on a big task and my responsibility is to complete that task."

Hampton added that while the executives were not making any excuses for the 21 traders that had been found to have manipulated Libor, people had to remember the tumultuous context around the rate-rigging.

"When Stephen joined us, the bank was a hell of a mess at the time and he came in to sort out this absolutely, horrendous mess. Yes, accountability starts on day one but you can push accountability too far. I don't think there is an advantage in in making [multiple people] accountable [for the sake of] spilling blood on the carpet."

Hampton and Hester reiterated that John Hourican had stepped down as the head of its investment banking arm, after taking full responsibility for the Libor fixing misconduct. "He had no involvement, knowledge or culpability" for the 21 traders' actions.

Both Hampton and Hester added that while 21 traders were found to have involved in Libor fixing, "14 were no longer with the bank and the remainder are under disciplinary proceedings."

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