LONDON May 24 A London trial of six former
Deutsche Bank and Barclays traders, charged
with manipulating benchmark Euribor interest rates, has been
delayed until next year.
The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which is prosecuting the
case, said on Wednesday that the start of the trial had been
postponed from September 4 until January.
No further details were immediately available.
It will be the SFO's fifth trial of former traders on
charges relating to benchmark rate manipulation - and the
independent investigator and prosecutor have had a mixed success
rate in persuading a jury that bankers dishonestly fixed rates.
Five men have been jailed and eight acquitted in a five-year
criminal investigation that underscores the complexity of
bringing white collar crime cases.
In its last trial, an expert prosecution witness admitted
even he needed help understanding the process and practices he
was testifying about.
The latest case is the first to focus on Euribor, the euro
interbank offered rate, rather than its London-based equivalent
Libor. Five men and one woman have pleaded not guilty to one
count of conspiracy to defraud by manipulating Euribor between
January 2005 and December 2009.
The former traders include Christian Bittar, who was once
one of Deutsche Bank's most profitable traders, and former
senior Barclays trader Philippe Moryoussef. Both are French and
now based in Singapore.
Achim Kraemer, a German still employed by Deutsche, and
former Barclays traders Colin Bermingham, a Briton,
Anglo-Italian Carlo Palombo and Sisse Bohart, a Dane, also face
Authorities have fined 11 financial institutions around $9.0
billion and charged about 30 people in a global inquiry into how
banks set rates such as Libor (London interbank offered rate)
and Euribor, which determine the rates on trillions of loans and
financial contracts globally.
SFO head David Green once hung his reputation on the success
of the high-profile rate-rigging investigations - and the agency
has succeeded in bringing the cases to trial.
But Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party has
pledged to scrap the SFO and roll it into a broader
crime-fighting body if it wins the June 8 national election.
(Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Ken Ferris)