Barclays Traders Claim Senior Executives Knew about Libor Trading Practices

Libor defendent claims that three senior Barclay's Bank executives were aware that interest rates were being manipulated.

An ex-Barclays banker accused of conspiring to manipulate Libor has attempted to implicate three senior Barclays executives, including the chief operating officer of its investment bank, by claiming they were aware of the practice. Jay Merchant, a former trader, is one of five Barclays bankers currently on trial at a London court.

When first interviewed about the case by the Serious Fraud Office in March 2014, Merchant claimed that manipulation of Euribor, another key interest rate benchmark that is linked to the euro, had been widespread in London.

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Merchant named a trio of senior Barclays executives that were aware of the manipulation practices on the rates trading desk. The COO of Barclays’ investment bank, Mike Bagguley, senior banker Harry Harrison and the former head of global fixed income, currencies and commodities at Barclays, Eric Bommensath were all in the know according to the court transcripts.

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In the court hearing, the jury was told that the Barclays executives implicated by Merchant all denied that manipulation was industry practice or was condoned and all three claimed not to know about it.

Merchant, along with Stylianos Contogoulas, Jonathan Mathew, Alex Pabon and Ryan Reich, deny conspiring with others at Barclays to manipulate U.S. dollar Libor, the benchmark interbank lending rate, for more than two years before September 2007. Four of the men had allegedly traded contracts with counterparties and then told the bank’s Libor submitters, one of whom was Mathew, to move their Libor setting up or down to help their trading book.

In 2012, Barclays received a substantial fine from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and accepted that its employees had acted inappropriately by taking into account requests from derivatives traders when making U.S. dollar Libor and Euribor submissions.

The three senior Barclays executives are due to give testimonies in the trial.

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