By Kirstin Ridley and Carolyn Cohn
LONDON, July 4 Reuters) – Three former Barclays traders have been found guilty by a London jury of conspiring to fraudulently manipulate global benchmark interest rates in a stark warning to junior bankers and a major victory for Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
The verdicts bring to five the number of people convicted in London for being part of a global financial conspiracy that has forced banks to pay fines of $9 billion, discredited rates like Libor and helped shred public faith in the banking industry.
Calcutta-born, U.S.-based Jay Merchant, 45, the most senior of the men on trial, was convicted unanimously. British former Libor submitter Jonathan Mathew, 35, and former trader Alex Pabon, a 38-year-old American, were found guilty by a majority verdict after a 10-week trial.
A second Libor submitter, 61-year-old Peter Johnson, had pleaded guilty in October 2014. The four men are expected to be sentenced at London’s Southwark Crown Court later this week.
Reporting restrictions on the verdicts were lifted on Monday after the jury failed to reach a verdict on two other defendants, 44-year-old Greek-born Stylianos Contogoulas and American Ryan Reich, 34. The SFO now has 14 days to decide whether it will seek a fresh trial for the two .
The verdicts come four years after Barclays became the first of 11 powerful banks and brokerages to be handed a hefty fine over rate fixing allegations, sparking a political and public backlash that forced out charismatic former CEO Bob Diamond, an overhaul of Libor rules and the criminal inquiry.