Three former Barclays bank employees have now been charged with “conspiracy to defraud” in the continuing LIBOR scandal, bringing the total to 13 people charged in America and the U.K. It has been reported that three ex-ICAP brokers are next on the list for helping traders manipulate interest rates.
Three former Barclays bankers have been charged “in connection with the manipulation of Libor” interest rates, the Serious Fraud Office said.
The SFO alleges the three – Peter Charles Johnson, Jonathan James Mathew and Stylianos Contogoulas – “conspired to defraud between 1 June 2005 and 31 August 2007”.
They will appear at Westminster Magistrates court at a date to be confirmed. (source)
LIBOR is an interbank benchmark used to set the interest rates on trillions in loans all over the world.
The investigation into LIBOR’s deliberate manipulation began in 2008, and it has come to light that traders at various banks all over the world have benefited financially from turning in false interest rate reports since.
Thus far, Barclays and other mega banks including JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, UBS, Deutsche Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland have been forced to pay billions in regard to rigging interest rates.
The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that authorities in the United States, United Kingdom and EU are currently investigating a group of traders from various banks for manipulating Euribor, the euro interbank interest rate, as well.
The news comes on the heels of a rash of banker suicides.
Jan. 26, 2014
William Broeksmit, 58-year-old retired Deutsche Bank senior manager with close ties to co-chief exec. Anshu Jain, was found hanging dead at his home in London. It was reported as an apparent suicide. Police quickly declared that Broeksmit’s death was not suspicious.
Jan. 28, 2014
Two days later Gabriel Magee, 39, reportedly leapt to his death from the 33rd story of JP Morgan’s European headquarters in London sometime around 8 a.m. Magee was the bank’s VP in CIB Technology. His death was also quickly ruled “non-suspicious”. There was no indication Magee was going to kill himself at all. In fact, Magee’s girlfriend had received an email from him the night before saying he was finishing up work and would be home soon.
The London Coroner’s Office is set to hold a formal inquest into Magee’s death, but not until May 15th.
Jan. 29, 2014
Chief Economist at Russell Investments, 50-year-old Mike Dueker, was reported missing on Jan. 29. He was found dead off the side of a highway leading to Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington. A Pierce County detective said he may have jumped over a four-foot fence and fallen some 40-to-50 feet down an embankment in another apparent suicide. Although the detective maintained Dueker was having trouble at work, a Russell spokeswoman said Dueker was in good standing.
Dueker, a prior assistant VP and research economist for the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve Bank, had worked at Russell for five years, during which time he developed a business-cycle index that forecast economic performance.
Feb. 3, 2014
Ryan Crane, a 37-year-old JP Morgan trading exec., was found dead in his Stamford, Connecticut home. He was an executive director, a rank above vice president, in the bank’s Americas Program Trading group. Cause of death is awaiting determination via toxicology report.
Feb. 4, 2014
57-year-old Richard Talley, former investment banker at Drexel Burnham Lambert and founder of Centennial, Colorado-based American Title Services, was found dead in his garage with eight nail gun wounds to his torso and head. They were reportedly “self-inflicted”. His company was under investigation at the time of his death.
Just last month, JP Morgan Chase, America’s biggest bank, admitted wrongdoing and was fined $461 million for willfully violating the Bank Secrecy Act in relation to Bernie Madoff’s multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme. “When JPMorgan suspected Mr. Madoff’s fraud, it focused on its own investment exposure and saved itself approximately $250 million. If it had given the same attention to its anti-money laundering responsibilities, it could have saved itself $2 billion, and potentially saved thousands of other fraud victims untold misery and loss,” stated Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery.
JP Morgan also owns over 60% of the total notional of all US gold derivatives ($108.2 billion).
While all these instances could be entirely unrelated in any way, others are wondering if the heat intensifying in the LIBOR scandal, the hint at other major interest rate scandals, and the rash of recent banker suicides is suggesting a bigger global financial implosion to come.