Libor fix scandal could put 22 more in the dock
Three in court on conspiracy counts but others ‘on notice’ they face investigation
Jim Armitage is the City editor of The Independent and London Evening Standard group of newspapers. He has been a reporter and editor for more than 20 years and was recently shortlisted for the Press Gazette financial journalist of the year and The Society of Editors financial journalist of the year awards. He contributes news, investigative reports and comment to the Independent titles plus a daily column in the Evening Standard.
Tuesday 22 October 2013
The Libor rate rigging scandal could see another 22 people facing charges, a court heard yesterday.
So far former Citigroup trader Tom Hayes, 34, and ex-brokers James Gilmour, 48, and Terry Farr, 42, are the only ones to be charged in connection with the scam. But the Serious Fraud Office is investigating claims that many more bank employees were involved, and currently have 60 investigators working on the case.
Southwark Crown Court heard that the individuals were each sent letters in September “putting them on notice” they may be investigated and could face criminal charges. There was an injunction in place preventing the names of the suspected co-conspirators being made public after the Wall Street Journal identified eight of them last week.
British prosecutors obtained a court order on Thursday, forcing the paper to remove the names, but yesterday High Court Judge Mr Justice Cooke, sitting in the crown court, lifted that reporting ban on the grounds it would not cause prejudice to any future court cases as they would not be taking place at least until 2015.
The newspaper put its report back up online last night. A spokeswoman for Dow Jones, owner of the Wall Street Journal, said: “This represents a victory for all media organisations operating in England and Wales, many of whom supported us in this effort.”
However, none of those named has been charged, and the court heard some have not even been interviewed by the SFO yet. For each count of conspiracy to defraud, the maximum sentence is 10 years in prison.
Mr Hayes of Caterham, Surrey, appeared in the dock yesterday on eight charges of conspiracy to defraud between August 2006 and September 2010. He appeared alongside Mr Farr, of Southend-on-Sea, Essex, who is charged with two counts of conspiracy to defraud and Mr Gilmour, of Benfleet, Essex, who faces one.
Mr Hayes, a former Tokyo-based UBS trader, dressed down in a white open-necked shirt and blue jumper, while the other two defendants wore dark suits.
Mr Hayes was the first person to be charged over Libor rate rigging.Mr Gilmour and Mr Farr both worked for the brokerage firm RP Martin. None of the three entered pleas and they are not expected to stand trial until 2015. The trio are accused of plotting to rig the key interest rates, which affect trillions of pounds of loans and contracts.
It is alleged they conspired with bankers at RBS, JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Rabo Bank, RP Martin, HSBC and Tullett Prebon to fix the yen interbank rate. A further hearing will take place at Southwark Crown Court on a date to be set before Christmas.
Mukul Chawla QC, for the SFO, said of the 22 individuals: “Of those that are named, some have been informed that the Serious Fraud Office would like to interview them. But a large number have not been interviewed or for that matter previously been put on notice that they are within the radar of the Serious Fraud Office.”
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