An ex-Barclays trader who was accused of attempting to manipulate Libor has testified in a London court that he was following the directions of his boss, who he said would “whack” him with a toy bat if he made any mistakes in his work.
Jonathan Mathew, who was responsible for submitting the bank’s view on the London interbank offered rate charged for borrowing various currencies, told the court that his boss, Peter Johnson, instructed him how to submit the rates.
Peter Johnson was allegedly described as a “hard taskmaster” and would berate Mathew in the office when he got things wrong. He added that despite the fact that Johnson was quick to pull him up on his mistakes and was verbally aggressive, he was a “good teacher”.
Mathew went on to describe a further incident where Johnson requested that he stand on a chair and recite the capital cities of the world.
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The court was also shown an email that Johnson, also known as PJ, sent to Mathew, with the subject “Brick Dain”. Jurors were told that this was so that the message would pass through the company’s online filters.
Mathew told the court that he learned what to do with Libor from Johnson and that as far as he knew, he was doing nothing wrong. He is also reported to have said that he never received any training from Barclays.
Mathew eventually went on to look after the books for a number of currencies, including the Canadian dollar, and on occasions where Johnson was absent, took over responsibility for the US dollar book, for which the senior trader had five brokers.
Mathew, Stylianos Contogoulas, Jay Vijay Merchant, Alex Pabon and Ryan Reich are accused of manipulating Libor between June 1 2005 and August 31 2007. The charge alleges that they dishonestly agreed to procure or make submissions of rates by Barclays, a panel bank, into the dollar Libor setting process which were false or misleading. The case continues.