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14 Jul 2016

David Corker comments on the original FSA probe into Barclays Libor rigging in the Evening Standard

On a rain-sodden morning in late June 2012, the City’s top investigator Tracey McDermott was in her offices at 25 North Colonnade on the west side of Canary Wharf’s vast estate.

McDermott, wearing a red brooch necklace and hoop earrings, was preparing for a momentous day as her enforcement department at the Financial Services Authority — now the FCA — geared up to unveil a then-record £59.5 million fine on Barclays for manipulating Libor, the closely watched interbank exchange rate. It was part of £290 million in global fines.

Days later, the Serious Fraud Office’s new boss David Green announced plans to pursue criminal prosecutions against individuals involved in the scandal.

What seemed a simple case of wrongdoing four years ago has mushroomed into stiff prison sentences for four former Barclays traders implicated in the scandal.

Questions are now being raised about the original investigation into Barclays, and whether people further up the chain are implicated in the scandal.

David Corker, a partner at law firm Corker Binning who has written extensively on the Libor cases, said the original FSA probe was so narrowly focused on compliance issues that questions still remain about what went on.

“At the time, the FSA had to decide to what extent it would be pragmatic and go after issues of control, rather than demand admissions of wrongdoing and go after the truth,” Corker said, adding it was the right approach at the time because the definition of libor manipulation was so open to interpretation.

Read the full article in the Evening Standard here.