Former Barclays trader guilty of Euribor rate-rigging

Carlo PalomboImage copyright Getty Images

A former Barclays trader has been found guilty of conspiring to rig the Euribor global interest rate.

Anglo-Italian Carlo Palombo, who denied the charges, will be sentenced later.

His heavily pregnant wife burst into tears in the public gallery after the verdict.

Mr Palombo, 40, was the eighth banker to have been convicted on Euribor rate rigging charges in Britain in a series of prosecutions brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Co-defendant Sisse Bohart, a 41-year-old Dane who also once worked at Barclays, was acquitted at Southwark Crown Court.

The jury has yet to reach a decision on a third defendant, former Barclays banker Colin Bermingham, a 62-year-old Briton.

Euribor is a key euro benchmark borrowing rate, underpinning about $150 trillion (£113 trillion) of financial products, and the accuracy of the rate is important to maintaining trust in the financial system.

The defendants were charged with dishonestly manipulating the rate for their own benefit between 2005 and 2009.

The SFO sought a retrial of the three former Barclays traders after the jury failed to reach a verdict in July 2018.

At the time, two former Euribor traders were given jail time. Former Deutsche Bank employee Christian Bittar was sentenced to five years and four months.

Philippe Moryoussef, a former Barclays trader, was sentenced to eight years but he remains in France after fleeing the UK last summer. He was tried in absentia.

Brussels-based Euribor, like its Libor counterpart, reflects the cost of borrowing between banks and is set after submitters at a panel of major lenders report their estimated costs of borrowing over various periods to an administrator, who calculates an average.

Prosecutors alleged that the bankers manipulated Euribor by nudging them up or down to benefit trading positions, deliberately ignoring rules that they should be set independently.

All the former bankers denied any dishonesty, saying they followed instructions and acted openly.

Ten bankers have been acquitted of the SFO charges.

So far 11 powerful banks and brokerages have been fined a total of $9bn to settle rate-rigging allegations in a global investigation.

Barclays paid a $453m fine in 2012, sparking a backlash that forced out former chief executive Bob Diamond and prompted an overhaul of UK rate-setting rules.

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