In something of a surprise move the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has announced the closure of its investigation into Libor manipulation, which has been going on since 2012.
The SFO says in a statement, “Following a thorough investigation and a detailed review of the available evidence, there will be no further charges brought in this case. This decision was taken in line with the test in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.”
It adds that it also made the decision because Lisa Osofsky, the director of the SFO, is recused from this case due to her previous role as an investigator into Libor on behalf of the US FBI.
The SFO’s investigation into Libor manipulation has seen charges of conspiracy to defraud brought against 13 individuals. In October 2014, Peter Johnson pleaded guilty to manipulating the US Dollar Libor, the first criminal conviction for a Libor offence in the UK. Jonathan Matthew, Jay Merchant and Alex Pabon were convicted by a jury of the same charges in July 2016. In August 2015, Tom Hayes was convicted on eight counts of conspiracy to defraud in relation the manipulation of Japanese Yen Libor.
It has not all been one way traffic, however, for between January 2016 and April 2017, six individuals were acquitted by jury of manipulating Yen Libor and two acquitted of manipulating US Dollar Libor and the SFO faced criticism for its failure to adequately prosecute the cases.
Although the SFO says all strands of its investigation into Libor manipulation are now closed, the agency continues to investigate Euribor manipulation claims – equally offshore investigation, in particular in the US, continue.