WASHINGTON — The scandal brewing over alleged rigging of the London interbank offered rate has piqued the interest of the Senate Banking Committee.

In a press release Tuesday, Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., said the panel's staff "has begun to schedule bipartisan briefings with relevant parties to learn more about these allegations and related enforcement actions."

Johnson added that senators may raise the issue at hearings planned later this month with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke. "I am asking them to be prepared to answer senators' questions on this matter," Johnson said in the release.

"I am concerned by the growing allegations of potential widespread manipulation of Libor and similar interbank rates by some financial firms," Johnson said. "At my direction, the committee staff has begun to schedule bipartisan briefings with relevant parties to learn more about these allegations and related enforcement actions."

He added, "It is important that we understand how any manipulation may impact American consumers and the U.S. financial system."

Sen. Richard Shelby, the Banking Committee's top Republican, also issued a statement on the Libor scandal Tuesday. Shelby said that he is working with Johnson to get a better understanding of what happened, and he honed in on Geithner's former role as the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

"I am specifically interested in learning what role then-FRBNY President Timothy Geithner played in these events," Shelby said.

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