Newspaper article International New York Times

2 Traders Found Guilty in Libor Rigging Scandal ; Verdict by New York Jury Surprisingly Quick despite the Case's Complexities

Newspaper article International New York Times

2 Traders Found Guilty in Libor Rigging Scandal ; Verdict by New York Jury Surprisingly Quick despite the Case's Complexities

Article excerpt

The verdict after less than a day and a half of deliberation was a surprisingly quick victory for the U.S. Justice Department.

A jury in New York has found two former London traders guilty in the first convictions in the United States stemming from the global investigation into the rigging of an interest rate benchmark known as Libor.

The verdict on Thursday against the two, Anthony Allen and Anthony Conti, after less than a day and a half of deliberation, was a surprisingly quick victory for the Justice Department as it makes a renewed effort to prosecute individuals for financial crimes.

As the jury foreman began reading aloud the verdicts on the 19 counts of fraud and conspiracy against Mr. Allen and the nine for Mr. Conti, Mr. Allen slumped low in his chair, his chin resting on his left fist. As the guilty verdicts slowly tallied all 28 counts, he stared off to his right, away from the jury seated to his left.

The journey for the two men, both British citizens, to Federal District Court in Lower Manhattan was the product of a long-running push by regulators and law enforcement in a number of countries to investigate the manipulation of Libor, or the London interbank offered rate. Libor is a benchmark used by banks to set interest rates on mortgages, credit cards and other kinds of loans.

More than a half-dozen banks, including the Dutch bank the two men worked for, Rabobank, have paid more than $10 billion to settle charges with regulators and law enforcement agencies that they conspired to rig Libor.

Trying the two former Rabobank traders before a jury presented a challenge for prosecutors, resting in part as it did on the arcane technicalities of how Libor is calculated. Submissions for Libor benchmarks are made at a certain time in London in different currencies and for numerous different short-term maturities in the hundredths of a percentage point.

Yet after the verdict, a juror, Howard Wasserfall, said that "it was pretty obvious to us something was going on that was interfering with the way the Libor rate was supposed to be" calculated.

Leslie R. Caldwell, the assistant attorney general for the criminal division of the Justice Department, said: "Today's verdicts illustrate the department's successful efforts to hold accountable bank executives responsible for this global fraud scheme. …

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