Two former employees of Dutch bank Rabobank charged by the U.S. Department of Justice have been convicted by a District Court’s jury in New York. The guilty verdict comes after the implosion of the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) fixing scandal in 2013.
Anthony Allen and Anthony Conti were involved in rigging the Benchmark interest rate between 2006 and 2011. Their sentence will be pronounced in March 2016, with the maximum penalty for the counts on which they were found guilty amounting to up to 30 years.
The U.S. LIBOR trial is the first conviction directed at individuals ever since the scandal erupted. With increasing scrutiny on the business conduct of a number of major banks operating globally, the court cases against individuals might just be starting.
Aside from the LIBOR manipulation practices, investigations by leading financial regulators have unveiled that foreign exchange benchmarks have also been heavily influenced in an unfair way by some financial institutions.
The Individuals Will Be Sentenced in March 2016
Mr. Allen, a British citizen, was convicted by the U.S. court on one count of conspiracy to rig the LIBOR benchmark rate and 18 counts of bank and wire fraud, while his colleague at Rabobank, Mr Conti, was found guilty of rigging the LIBOR benchmark rate and 8 counts of bank and wire fraud.
While the lawyer of the duo, Michael Schachter, said that he will be filing for an appeal, both British citizens will remain in custody until March 2016 before their sentences are made public.
Commenting on the verdict, Assistant Attorney General Caldwell stated, “Today’s verdicts illustrate the department’s successful efforts to hold accountable bank executives responsible for this global fraud scheme.”
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“This investigation—which also resulted in the recent conviction of a bank executive in the U.K.—exemplifies the department’s work with our international partners to protect our global markets from fraud. The verdicts also demonstrate the department’s ongoing efforts to hold individuals who use their corporate positions to commit fraud personally responsible for their actions,” he added.
The Netherlands’ biggest mortgage lender has already settled to pay over $1 billion to address regulators’ claims that the company’s employees were involved in benchmark interest rates manipulation.
These convictions make clear that bank executives and traders will be held accountable
The case is taking financial markets manipulation charges to a new level, prospectively discouraging future misconduct by traders. If authorities start prosecuting individuals for their wrongdoings instead of financial institutions, which has been the case until now, the incentives to engage in malpractices and commit fraud would dramatically lose their appeal.
Assistant Attorney General Baer elaborated on future actions, “The department will continue to pursue aggressively those involved in illegal schemes that undermine the integrity of financial markets.”
“These convictions make clear that bank executives and traders will be held accountable for manipulating world interest rates for their own personal benefit,” added Assistant Director in Charge, Paul Abbate.
The prosecution is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force which was established to tackle financial crimes. A number of representatives of federal agencies, regulatory authorities and inspectors have been brought together to confront wrongdoers and ensure just and effective punishment for criminals in the financial sector.