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Two former senior bankers convicted of fraud in SFO’s EURIBOR manipulation case

12 July, 2018 | News Releases

Two former senior bankers have been convicted for manipulating the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (EURIBOR) at the height of the financial crisis following an investigation and prosecution brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

Phillipe Moryoussef, formerly of Barclays Bank, was found guilty on 29th June 2018 by a jury.

The conviction follows a guilty plea by Christian Bittar, former Principal Trader at Deutsche Bank, before the start of the trial in March 2018.

Former Deutsche Bank employee Achim Kraemer, was found not guilty on 29th June 2018 by a jury.

Today, the jury could not reach verdicts on Carlo Palombo, Colin Bermingham and Sisse Bohart, formerly of Barclays Bank. The SFO will inform the court whether we intend to proceed with a retrial by 20th July 2018.

Mark Thompson, Director of the Serious Fraud Office said:

“The jury has decided that Phillipe Moryoussef, alongside Christian Bittar who pleaded guilty before the trial began, dishonestly manipulated EURIBOR. In doing so, they damaged trust in an important system which sets the rates for $180 trillion worth of financial products.

“They were senior figures who abused their positions for personal gain and to advantage the banks they worked for.”

The SFO’s case was that between 2005 and 2009, the individuals manipulated EURIBOR, the benchmark by which global interest rates were hedged, in their favour with a view to making dishonest profits.

They conspired together to submit false or misleading EURIBOR submissions to benefit their positions and change the published rate. After discussing preparations for several months, the traders congratulated themselves in emails and other correspondence on their apparent success. While gaming the system they spoke of the need to keep quiet about what they were doing and boasted of the money they made from the scam.

Substantial profits were made as EURIBOR was sent upward or downward based on their dishonest submissions. Bittar, for example, was a very successful trader in his own right, earning millions in salary and bonuses from Deutsche Bank between 2005 and 2009, so much that Deutsche Bank did a deal with him to reduce his income yet still he felt the need to cheat – to that, he pleaded guilty.

EURIBOR is a key financial benchmark rate used to set a range of financial deals around the world. It underpins $180 trillion of financial products and the accuracy of the rate is important to maintaining trust in the financial system.

The two convicted traders are due to be sentenced on Friday, 20 July.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Serious Fraud Office announced that it had decided to accept allegations of the manipulation of LIBOR and EURIBOR for investigation on 6 July 2012.
  2. Christian Bittar pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud on Friday 2 March 2018 and remains in custody awaiting sentencing. See press release here.
  3. Phillipe Moryoussef (06.07.1968), was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud.  He was tried and convicted in absentia.
  4. Achim Kraemer (06.11.1964) was acquitted of the same charge.
  5. The jury could not reach verdicts on Colin Bermingham (22.07.1956), Carlo Palombo (26.10.1978) and Sisse Bohart (31.03.1977) and a decision on a potential retrial is pending.
  6. Reporting restrictions on these verdicts were lifted today.
  7. Counsel for the Prosecution:
    1. James Waddington Q.C.
    2. Emma Deacon Q.C.
    3. Dominic Lewis
  8. Counsel for the Defence
    1. For Moryoussef: Francois De Castro of Avocat Associé
    2. For Palombo: Sean Larkin QC, John Hartley of Hodge Jones & Allen
    3. For Bermingham: Clare Sibson QC, Rachel Adamson of Slater and Gordon
    4. For Bohart: Amanda Pinto QC, John Milner of IBB Solicitors
    5. For Kraemer: Duncan Penny QC, Ian Ryan of Howard Kennedy

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