The decades-long pursuit to hold Wall Street accountable for attempted manipulation LiborThe once popular interest rate benchmark took another blow on Thursday when a federal appeals court overturned the convictions of two former Deutsche Bank traders.
A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York said federal prosecutors failed to provide enough evidence to support the 2018 charges of Matthew Connolly and Gavin Black. of fraud and conspiracy.
The unanimous ruling is the latest in a series of failures by prosecutors in the US and UK, as more than a dozen traders have been acquitted at trial or overturned. In 2017, another appeals panel from the Second Round brought Libor manipulation charges of two former Rabobank tellers.
The convictions of some of the merchants who pleaded guilty still stand. But the latest ruling is another sign of the difficulty prosecutors have had in the case of traders at several major banks conspiring to profit from manipulating Libor, the benchmark once set by banks. used to set interest rates for a variety of loans.
Libor is based on self-reported estimates of borrowing costs from banks and prosecutors and regulators say traders artificially pushed those bids high or low to make Certain financial assets are more profitable.
In dismissing Mr. Connolly and Mr. Black’s charges, the appeals panel said prosecutors had failed to demonstrate that the bids submitted by the bank were not rates at which the bank could borrow. The panel wrote: “The government cannot prove that any merchant-influenced submission was untrue, fraudulent or misleading. It added, “Libor’s submissions are not wrong.”
Kenneth Breen, Mr. Connolly’s attorney, said his client was “completely vindicated in this sham case.” Seth Levine, Mr Black’s attorney, said his client was not guilty and was “deeply grateful” that the appeals panel agreed.
The Justice Department was not immediately available for comment.
The crackdown on manipulation of what is officially known as the London Interbank Preferential Rate is one of the main criminal prosecutions that arose out of the 2008 financial crisis. including Deutsche Bank, which paid billions of dollars in fines to authorities in the US and UK to settle allegations that their traders sought to rig the Libor. Some banks pleaded guilty in deferred prosecution agreements.
The investigations have helped push international banking officials to remove Libor as the primary standard for setting interest rates on loans and in derivatives contracts.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/27/business/libor-manipulation-deutsche-bank-traders.html Two former Deutsche Bank traders win the Libor manipulation lawsuit.