James Waddington QC (leading Emma Deacon QC and Dominic Lewis of 5 Paper Buildings), appeared for the Serious Fraud Office in a case involving manipulation of the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (EURIBOR), a global benchmark interest rate, to the advantage of the trading positions of derivatives traders employed by various banks.
Christian Bittar, one of the principal conspirators and a highly successful derivatives trader employed by Deutsche Bank during the fraud, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud before the commencement of the trial. His plea of guilty followed an unsuccessful interlocutory appeal to the Court of Appeal on the issue of whether the EURIBOR code of conduct, a contract under Belgian law, prohibited panel banks making submissions for the purpose of setting daily EURIBOR rates which were intended to create an advantage to the positions of derivatives traders. The appeal focused on the Trial Judge’s findings as to the relevant principles of Belgian law and the application of them to his construction of the contract.
Philippe Moryoussef, also a principal conspirator and a derivatives trader employed at the relevant time by Barclays Bank, was convicted by the jury following an 11-week trial at Southwark Crown Court. He was tried in his absence having declined to participate any further in the court proceedings.
The jury could not decide in respect of three further defendants, who were former employees of Barclays Bank: Carlo Palombo, Colin Bermingham and Sisse Bohart. A retrial is due to take place in their cases on the 14th January 2019.
A sixth defendant, former Deutsche Bank employee, Achim Kraemer, was found not guilty by the jury.
On the 19th July 2018, Christian Bittar was sentenced by HHJ Gledhill QC to five years four months’ imprisonment; he was also ordered to pay the SFO’s costs of £799,957 and a confiscation order of £2.5 million. Philippe Moryoussef was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment; confiscation proceedings are due to take place in his case later this year.
The case was reported nationally and internationally in mainstream and financial press: Deutsche Bank trader jailed for five years for rigging … – The Guardian; Ex-traders handed 13-year jail sentence for Euribor … – The Telegraph; Two traders sentenced in Euribor rigging case as three … – The Times, BBC , and FT