Three Found Guilty In Libor Rigging Trial

Six Ex-Brokers Had Previously Been Acquitted


Oliver Wicks, Press Officer | 0114 274 4649

Regulatory and criminal investigations experts at Irwin Mitchell have said that although the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) will feel vindicated by the Libor guilty verdicts, the legislative change needed to aid them further is unlikely to be a priority post Brexit.

Three ex-brokers have been found guilty of rigging the Libor interest rate between 2005 and 2007 and will be sentenced on Thursday 7 July.

Libor is used as the basis for hundreds of trillions of dollars of loans and transactions around the world from complex derivatives to mortgages.

It is a benchmark that indicates the interest rate that banks charge when lending to each other.

Jay Merchant, 45, was convicted unanimously at Southwark Crown Court of manipulating the key financial rate.

Jonathan Mathew, 35, and Alex Pabon, an American 38 year-old, were found guilty by majority verdict after the ten-week trial.

In January this year, six ex-brokers were acquitted of helping Tom Hayes, who is currently serving 11 years in prison for conspiracy to defraud, after he became the first individual to be found guilty of rigging the interbank lending rate.

Sarah Wallace, a regulatory and criminal investigatory group expert at Irwin Mitchell feels that the SFO will be very pleased with the verdicts, but the bigger picture, the legislation changes they need are unlikely to be forthcoming in the wake of Brexit. 

Expert Opinion
“If the SFO were smarting from the broker acquittals in the second Libor trial, they will feel vindicated and emboldened by these verdicts - as well as a little relieved, as the jury deliberated for some time.

“Whether it signals further UK Libor prosecutions remains to be seen, although after the forthcoming Euribor trial the SFO may decide to draw a line underneath benchmarks.

“There is also a certain irony in that fact that those convicted may well have fared better had they been dealt with in the United States.

“Historically there has been questions raised about the effectiveness of the SFO and we have previously voiced our opinion on the required changes in legislation. However, I doubt that any politician, least of all Theresa May, will have the future of the office on their mind at the moment.

“If the new corporate criminal liability offences currently under Government consultation make it into our law then the SFO could be busy. Assuming of course that their prosecution budget is not reduced through any post Brexit public spending cuts.”
Sarah Wallace, Partner