Trial Date Set For 6 Accused Of Interest Rate Manipulation

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A British court has set a date for the trial of six former Barclays and Deutsche Bank employees who are accused of rigging a global benchmark interest rate, writes Chad Bray for The New York Times.

September trial for 6 accused former bankers

The accused will go on trial in September after the Serious Fraud Office began criminal proceedings last year. The body, which investigates financial crime in Britain, has initiated proceedings against 11 former employees of Barclays, Deutsche Bank and Société Générale as part of its investigation into manipulation of the euro interbank offered rate, also known as Euribor.

Six of the accused appeared in court in London for the first time this week, and Southwark Crown Court set a trial date of September 4 for Christian Bittar, a former senior trader at Deutsche Bank; Achim Kraemer, a rate submitter at Deutsche Bank; and the former Barclays employees Philippe Moryoussef, Carlo Palombo, Colin Bermingham and Sisse Bohart.

All of the accused have denied any wrongdoing.

Regulator findings cause controversy amid interest rate rigging scandal

A tribunal previously ruled that Mr Bittar was improperly identified by the Financial Conduct Authority of Britain in its findings related to a $2.5 billion settlement with Deutsche Bank. The regulator reached an agreement with the bank in April related to the rigging of other interest rates.

Mr Bittar argued that the papers, which referred to him as “Manager B,” would allow him to be identified. He argued that he should be afforded the opportunity to challenge the interest rate findings before they were released publicly.

Bittar and other former bank employees have questioned the methods used by the Financial Conduct Authority to identify individuals in interest rate manipulation settlement documents.

The remaining five of the 11 facing criminal proceedings did not attend the hearing on Monday. The Serious Fraud Office could seek European arrest warrants for those that live outside Britain.

Another fraud office investigation related to the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, has seen over a dozen people charged and billions of dollars in fines handed out to banks such as Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS and Deutsche Bank.

In August a former Citigroup and UBS trader named Tom Hayes became the first person convicted of manipulating the Libor interest rate. He appealed the decision, which was upheld in December, although the court did reduce his sentence to 11 years jail time.

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