After an intense 11-week trial at Southwark Crown Court, the Serious Fraud Office has secured convictions against three former Barclays Bank employees for their role in the Libor manipulation, and a guilty plea from the fourth.
This marks a much-needed victory for the SFO whose investigations into the Libor scandal have been ongoing for over four years. Prior to this trial, the only other conviction secured was against ex-trader Tom Hayes who is currently serving an 11-year sentence for his role in the Libor-fixing conspiracy. In January 2016, six defendants were acquitted of allegedly co-conspiring with Hayes and others.
Jay Merchant, Alex Pabon and Jonathan Mathew were convicted of conspiracy to defraud in connection with the manipulation of US dollar Libor rates. Their “ring-leader”, Peter Johnson, admitted the offence and pleaded guilty in October 2014.
The jury did not accept the various defences that were put forward for the individuals during their trial. Pabon and Mathews, both in their mid-20s during the relevant period, stated that they were acting solely upon instruction without realising that they had been part of any wrong-doing. Mathews went further than this and stated that he had been badly intimidated by his boss, Johnson, who had previously verbally abused him and struck him with a baseball bat. Ultimately, the jury rejected that the individuals had acted naively. Each individual proved themselves to be an adept banker during their career, and vast email evidence was served to demonstrate their deliberate dishonestly. They have received custodial sentences of a total of 17 years.
These convictions are highly demonstrative of the nature of investigations that may ensue; the SFO has since announced that it will seek the re-trial of two defendants against whom the jury was unable to reach a verdict. The convictions secured provide a real warning to those working in the financial industry, even at a fairly junior level, about the level of scrutiny they must be prepared to face. The pursuit of these individuals reveals the way in which the scope of financial crime is extending into the corporate world, and those in the industry must prepare to work under conditions that are more tightly regulated than ever before.
Mackrell Turner Garrett are experts in the field of criminal defence against allegations of fraud and financial misconduct. For further information, please contact Maya Paunrana.