Thursday, October 28, 2021

Former Barclays traders jailed for rigging Euribor rate


Two former Barclays bankers have been sentenced to nine years in jail for attempting to rig a key financial lending rate at the height of the financial crisis.

Carlo Palombo, a 40-year-old former trader, and ex-managing director Colin Bermingham, 62, face a respective four and five years in prison, marking the latest sentences to result from a seven-year investigation into rate-rigging by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

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The pair were accused of conspiring to fix the Euro Interbank Offered rate (Euribor), used to price $180 trillion (£137 trillion) worth of financial products around the world, with former Deutsche Bank trader Christian Bittar and ex-Barclays trader Philippe Moryoussef.

Bittar, who was convicted last summer along with Moryoussef, was one of Deutsche’s most profitable traders and took home £57m in salary and bonuses between 2005 and 2009. Palombo earned £5.4m and Bermingham £3.5m over the same period.

“These men deliberately undermined the integrity of the financial system to line their pockets and advance the interests of their employers,” said SFO head Lisa Osofsky.

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Palombo’s lawyer said the former trader and his family were “devastated by the outcome”.

The two men were found guilty last week in a boost for the SFO, which has faced a string of embarrassing court failures. Last month a judge accused its investigators of failing to secure key evidence for a landmark trial of four former Barclays bankers.

Banks have been hit with fines totalling about $9bn since regulators started looking at the rigging of key rates, including the manipulation of the London interbank offered rates (Libor).

The scandal erupted in 2012, when Barclays was fined £290m for its role in trying to manipulate Libor and its then-chief executive Bob Diamond resigned.

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Former UBS and Citigroup trader Tom Hayes became the first individual to be jailed for Libor rigging when he was sentenced to 14 years, later reduced to 11 years, in 2015.

Former Barclays trader Alex Pabon, who served less than half of his two-year, nine-month sentence for alleged Libor manipulation, told The Telegraph when he got out of prison “it will just keep happening again and again”.

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