As a global investigation into the benchmark rigging of interest rates expands, the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charged 10 former Barclays and Deutsche Bank employees with manipulating Euribor (Euro Interbank Offered Rate). One of those charged is high-profile trader Christian Bittar.
The SFO charged the four former Barclays employees and six ex-Deutsche Bank employees with conspiracy to defraud. The nine men and one woman charged with the crime are scheduled to appear on January 11th at London’s Westminster Magistrates Court.
In addition to Bittar, the ex-Barclays employees include Colin Bermingham, Carlo Palombo, Philippe Moryoussef and Sisse Bohart. The former Deutsche Bank employees include Andreas Hauschild, Joerg Vogt, Ardalan Gharagozlou, Achim Kraemer and Kai-Uwe Kappauf.
In August, the SFO won its first conviction in a trial connected to benchmark manipulation. In that case, ex-UBS Group trader Tom Hayes was found guilty and convicted of rigging the London interbank offered rate. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
In the meantime, financial institutions including banks have paid fines to the tune of $9 billion tied to Libor and other important interest rates. Also as a result of the Libor probe, one other person has pleaded guilty. Libor refers to the benchmark rate that many of the world’s major banks charge each other for short-term loans.
Attorneys for Bittar and Hauschild have declared that they will contest the charges. It is not known how lawyers for the other eight will approach the situation.
According to an SFO spokesperson, the defendants all reside outside the United Kingdom except Bermingham. Bohart lives in Denmark, Bittar and Moryoussef live in Singapore, and Palombo resides in the United States and Italy. The five remaining defendants live in Germany. All have been notified of the charges they now face. As of now, all of their appearances will be voluntary and no extradition requests have been made at this time.
These conspiracy to defraud charges are the first levied in the SFO’s investigation of Libor manipulation in relation to the Euribor. The SFO stated that it plans to prosecute more individuals. To date, the agency has charged a total of 23 individuals.