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Second Barclays Trader Convicted of Euribor Manipulation

Just days after former colleagues Carlo Palombo was convicted of similar charges, a UK jury has found a second former Barclays interest rate trader guilty of Euribor manipulation.

Former managing director at Barclays, Colin Bermingham, has been convicted of manipulating the benchmark rate at the height of the financial crisis following an investigation and prosecution brought by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

A third trader, manager of the liquidity management portfolio at Barclays, Sisse Bohart, was acquitted.

The jury found that Palombo and Bermingham conspired together with former principal trader at Deutsche Bank, Christian Bittar and former Barclays director Phillipe Moryoussef to submit false or misleading Euribor submissions to change the published rate and benefit their positions.

The SFO says that the defendants and their employer made substantial profits as the benchmark rate set was sent upward or downward based on their dishonest submissions. Bittar, for example, earned more than £57 million in salary and bonuses from Deutsche Bank between 2005 and 2009, the SFO says, while Palombo earned £5.4 million and Bermingham earned £3.5 million in the same period.

Bittar and Moryoussef were convicted of and sentenced for the same conspiracy in July 2018.

The SFO says the bankers regularly discussed preparations to manipulate the rate and spoke of the importance of successfully rigging the rates. In an October 2006 email, Moryoussef urged Palombo to raise the rate – “We have 2 billion on that date. We definitely have to make one BP (basis point) on that fixing. Good luck”.

Lisa Osofsky, director of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, says, “Four senior bankers, now including a managing director, stand convicted in our Euribor rate rigging case.

By manipulating Euribor, these bankers damaged trust in a critical system that supports $180 trillion worth of financial products including personal loans, pension investments and mortgage repayments.”

Palombo and Bermingham are due to be sentenced on Monday 1 April 2019 at Southwark Crown Court in London.

Colin Lambert

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