July 18, 2018 / 5:26 PM / a year ago

Convicted ex-traders to be sentenced in Euribor scandal

LONDON, July 18 (Reuters) - Two French former senior traders, Christian Bittar and Philippe Moryoussef, face sentencing in a London court on Thursday after being convicted of plotting to rig global interest rates.

Bittar, a former star Deutsche Bank trader, and Moryoussef, who once worked at Barclays, were convicted of conspiracy to defraud by dishonestly manipulating Euribor (the Euro interbank offered rate) between January 2005 and December 2009.

Bittar pleaded guilty before the near three-month trial began in April and Moryoussef was tried in his absence. He left London for France after Bittar's plea was made public and had no defending counsel in court.

A spokeswoman for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) declined to comment on whether the prosecutor would seek a European Arrest Warrant for Moryoussef.

Euribor is a benchmark for about $180 trillion of financial contracts and consumer loans worldwide. It is calculated daily after a panel of banks submit estimates for the costs of borrowing between banks over various timeframes to an administrator.

The SFO, which alleges the defendants dishonestly skewed these submissions to bolster bets on interest rate derivatives, said on Wednesday it would also inform the court on Thursday whether it planned to seek a retrial of three other former Barclays traders.

A jury was unable to reach a verdict in the case against Italian-born Carlo Palombo, a former trader who reported to Moryoussef, Sisse Bohart, a Danish former junior trader and rate submitter, and her British one-time boss Colin Bermingham.

They denied dishonesty, saying they learned on the job, communicated openly, were not told they were doing anything wrong, that requests fell within a range of equally valid rates and that they did not profit from the practice. (Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; editing by John Stonestreet)

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