Libor trial: UK jury acquits former brokers

  • 28/01/2016
Libor trial: UK jury acquits former brokers

Five former brokers have been acquitted of conspiring with convicted trader Tom Hayes to manipulate crucial benchmark interest rates as the world's third - and longest - Libor trial draws to a close in London, the Serious Fraud Office says.

Former ICAP brokers Colin Goodman and Danny Wilkinson, former RP Martin brokers Terry Farr and James Gilmour and former Tullett Prebon broker Noel Cryan were acquitted of conspiring to rig the London interbank offered rate, which helps determine the borrowing costs for trillions of dollars in loans worldwide.

Former ICAP broker Darrell Read, who was charged with two counts of conspiracy to defraud, was acquitted on one count but the jury had yet to reach a verdict on a second count.

The judge asked the jury to reach a majority verdict, an SFO spokesman said on Wednesday (local time).

The trial comes more than seven years after US regulators first examined how Libor rates were set, sowing the seeds of a global investigation that has culminated in authorities fining leading banks and brokerages US$9 billion (NZ$13.90 billion), charging around 30 and overhauling how benchmarks such as Libor are policed.

The SFO alleged the six men helped Tokyo-based Hayes - the first person jailed over Libor rigging - in a scam to persuade bank clients to skew interbank borrowing rates to suit his trading position.

Defence lawyers told the jury the defendants were scapegoats for a fundamentally flawed financial system, which was self-governing and in which the establishment knew banks routinely set Libor rates to suit their commercial positions - and that the trial was unfair and unjust.

Hayes, a former UBS and Citigroup trader who earned around US$300 million for his employers between 2006 and 2010, was jailed for 14 years in August, reduced to 11 years on appeal.

ICAP declined to comment and Tullett Prebon had no immediate comment.