Ex-Barclays Traders Challenge SFO’s Fine Judgment in Libor Case

Carlo Palombo and Colin Bermingham were sentenced over allegations they plotted with a cartel in the euro swaps markets.

A pair of former Barclays traders, who were sentenced to a total of nine years in prison for manipulating Euribor rates, are challenging the UK police assessment of the gains they made from their criminal conduct.

Carlo Palombo and Colin Bermingham have been jailed in April over allegations they plotted with a cartel in the euro swaps markets to rig Libor, the mechanism used to set interest rates. Palombo, sentenced to four years, was former vice president of Euro rates while Bermingham, who was sentenced to five, served as Managing Director at Barclays.

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In a prosecution brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), they were accused of conspiring with others at Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Societe Generale and other banks between 2005 and 2009. They allegedly created a chat group to defraud in relation to manipulating Euribor, the European interbank lending rate, seeking an edge over counterparties in a five-year rate-rigging plot, UK prosecutors said.

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The parties are wide apart

The men are contesting the amount of money that the SFO is seeking to satisfy a possible confiscation order. They also claim there was no personal gain to them from accepting requests from traders to put in higher or lower submissions.

But the court ruling states they were allegedly found to have routinely helped their London-based Deutsche Bank colleague to change the rates they submitted in order to benefit their positions. However, their DB colleague had his convictions overturned by the UK court on the grounds that the jury looked at the same evidence and decided not to bring charges, citing insufficient proofs for a realistic prospect of conviction.

“The parties are wide apart and there will need to be a hearing to resolve the issues. It’s really the benefits that is the subject matter of the argument; the assets positions are broadly speaking in agreement,” a prosecutor told a London judge on Monday.

Global regulators, including FCA and its US and Swiss counterparts, have fined banks and brokers around $9 billion and charged about 30 people in a global inquiry into how banks set rates such as Libor, which determine the rates on trillions of loans and financial contracts globally.

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