Ex-Barclays Libor traders jailed for more than 6 years

The sentences are the latest in a series of long jail terms meted out by judges for financial crime

Suzi Ring
Thursday 07 July 2016 17:12 BST
Ex-Barclays trader Jay Merchant "took other traders under his wing" to rig interest rates, said prosecutors
Ex-Barclays trader Jay Merchant "took other traders under his wing" to rig interest rates, said prosecutors (reuters)

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Louise Thomas

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Four former Barclays traders were sentenced to as long as 6 1/2 years in prison for manipulating Libor as judges continued meting out tough punishments for white-collar crime.

Jay Merchant, 45, got the longest sentence, while 61-year-old Peter Johnson, who had pleaded guilty, and Jonathan Mathew, 35, each received four years in prison. Alex Pabon, 38, will serve two years and nine months in jail.

The sentences are the latest in a wave of long jail terms related to financial wrongdoing.

Former UBS trader Tom Hayes is serving 11 years in prison for rigging Libor and in May an ex-Deutsche Bank broker received a record 4 1/2-year term for insider trading.

“The jury has characterized your behavior as dishonest, as you must have known that it was,” Judge Anthony Leonard said during the sentencing.

All four of the Barclays bankers were accused of participating in a conspiracy to manipulate the London interbank offered rate from 2005 to 2007.

Their convictions come nearly one year after Hayes became the first person globally to be imprisoned over Libor in August. Johnson pleaded guilty in 2014, while his ex-colleagues went to trial.

Judge Leonard said there were “real and significant differences between” the actions of Hayes and the men who were in his court on Thursday.

Merchant, who got the longest sentence, joined Barclays in 2002 to work on the short-end book before the euro desk and then on the dollar desk in New York.

Prosecutors said he took young and inexperienced traders including Pabon under his wing and brought them in on the conspiracy to rig rates. Merchant was the best paid of all the defendants, making £2.2 million in 2007.

Merchant bears “the greatest responsibility for what happened,” the judge said.

The judge also told Johnson he played a “pivotal role” but had made a “courageous decision” to plead guilty. His sentence was reduced by a third because of his cooperation in the case.

© 2016 Bloomberg

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