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First US convictions handed down in Libor manipulation scandal

It only took a federal jury a day and a half to convict two former Rabobank traders of manipulating the London InterBank Offered Rates, or Libor.

The convictions of Anthony Allen and Anthony Conti, both UK residents, are the first in the US following the global investigation into the scheme to rig Libor.

One juror, Howard Wasserfall, pointed to emails and text messages among traders as to why they were able to come to such a swift conclusion. In one instance, a trader in 2006 asked Allen to put in a “high” Libor submission. Allen responded, “No worries mate, glad to help.”

Though lawyers for Allen and Conti argued that merely receiving a request to do something illegal or even responding to that request in the affirmative is not a crime, jurors felt they had enough evidence to convict Allen on 19 counts of fraud and conspiracy and nine counts for Conti.

Rabobank, Allen and Conti’s former employer, has paid more than $1 billion to various US and international agencies for its role in the scheme. Since 2012, more than $9 billion in fines have been levied against companies in relation to Libor manipulation.

The Libor trials are a reminder of how deep-seeded misconduct of this kind can be.

During his trial earlier this year, former UBS trader Tom Hayes explained why he participated in manipulating Libor rates, and why he never imagined he’d get caught.

“It was so endemic within the bank [at UBS],” Hayes said. “I just thought … this can’t be a big issue because everybody knows about it . . . . [It was] such an open secret.”

Hayes was convicted in London in August.

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