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Fourth senior banker convicted of fraud in SFO’s EURIBOR manipulation case

28 March, 2019 | Case Updates

Former Managing Director at Barclays, Colin Bermingham, has been convicted of 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.

This follows the conviction of former Barclays Vice President of Euro Rates, Carlo Palombo, on 26 March 2019. Former Manager of the Liquidity Management Portfolio at Barclays Bank, Sisse Bohart, was acquitted.

Both men conspired together with former Principal Trader at Deutsche Bank, Christian Bittar and former Barclays Director Phillipe Moryoussef to submit false or misleading EURIBOR submissions to change the published rate and benefit their positions.

The defendants and their employer made substantial profits as EURIBOR was sent upward or downward based on their dishonest submissions. Bittar, for example, earned more than £57 million in salary and bonuses from Deutsche Bank between 2005 and 2009. Palombo earned £5.4 million and Bermingham earned £3.5 million in the same period.

Christian Bittar and Phillipe Moryoussef were convicted of and sentenced for the same conspiracy in July 2018.

The bankers regularly discussed preparations to manipulate the rate and spoke of the importance of successfully rigging the rates. In an October 2006 email, Moryoussef urged Palombo to raise the rate – “We have 2 billion on that date. We definitely have to make one BP (basis point) on that fixing. Good luck”.

Lisa Osofsky, Director of the Serious Fraud Office said:

“Four senior bankers, now including a Managing Director, stand convicted in our EURIBOR rate rigging case.

“By manipulating EURIBOR, these bankers damaged trust in a critical system that supports $180 trillion worth of financial products including personal loans, pension investments and mortgage repayments.”

EURIBOR is a key financial benchmark rate used to set financial deals around the world. It supports $180 trillion of financial products including mortgage rates, savings rates and loans. The accuracy of the rate is critical to maintaining the sanctity and trust in our financial system.

Palombo and Bermingham are due to be sentenced on Monday 1 April 2019 at Southwark Crown Court.

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. Colin Bermingham (22.07.1956) was Managing Director, Portfolio Liquidity Management, Carlo Palombo (26.10.1978) was Vice President (Euro Rates – Euro Swaps) and Sisse Bohart (31.03.1977) was Manager of the Liquidity Management Portfolio at Barclays Bank.
  1. More information on the investigation and related convictions is here.
  1. Counsel for the Prosecution
    1. James Waddington QC
    2. Emma Deacon QC
    3. Dominic Lewis
  1. Counsel for the Defence
    1. For Palombo: Sean Larkin QC
    2. For Bermingham: Andrew Thomas QC
    3. For Bohart: Amanda Pinto QC

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