Three former Barclays Plc traders were found guilty of Libor manipulation almost four years to the day since the bank paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in fines for fixing the key benchmark rate behind more than $350 trillion in securities.
Jonathan Mathew, 35, Jay Merchant, 45, and Alex Pabon, 38, were convicted last week of conspiring with other Barclays employees to rig the London interbank offered rate between June 1, 2005, and August 31, 2007.
David Corker commented: “The SFO has fought a long and bitterly contested trial to secure these three convictions (one unanimous, two by majority verdicts) after the early plea of guilty by one defendant. The jury could not reach a verdict on the two remaining defendants and the SFO will have to decide whether to seek a re-trial. Of course these results will buoy up the SFO, but they were desperately needed to save its reputation after the not guilty verdicts in the second LIBOR trial.
Questions do remain though about the way in which the LIBOR prosecutions were brought after loud political pressure. They were about conduct widely condoned or encouraged at the time in a broken, poorly regulated system and these defendants were foot soldiers for the most part in a global financial system beyond their full understanding.
The convictions strike the harshest of warnings for those operating at relatively junior levels in financial markets and in other fields of commercial life where the way in which business is routinely done may sometimes, years later, be characterised as criminal by those with 20/20 hindsight and a massive banking crisis for which politicians wanted to find someone to blame.”
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