Ex-Barclays Banker Says Euribor Rates Weren't Tweaked for Trader

(Bloomberg) -- A former Barclays Plc banker who submitted rates that help determine a key benchmark interest rate repeatedly batted back suggestions that she considered trading profits when making her entries.

Sisse Bohart, who is on trial in London for rigging Euribor, told prosecutors Friday that traders’ requests for her to nudge the rate one way or another “made no difference” to her final submissions.

Bohart is one of five defendants who allegedly conspired to rig the euro interbank offered rate to benefit their trading positions at Barclays and Deutsche Bank AG between 2005 and 2009. The rate is tied to trillions of dollars worth of loans and derivatives. They all deny the charges.

Prosecutor James Waddington said it was "pretty obvious" that traders’ requests to tweak her Euribor entries were all about making more money from trades affected by the published rate.

Bohart replied that when traders at Barclays asked her to move her Euribor submissions up or down, she did so only if it fit in with what the market dictated and didn’t consider the outcome.

Waddington argued that Bohart was influenced by trader demands in some way, which improperly influenced the market. He read out a message from former colleague Philippe Moryoussef -- another defendant in the case -- requesting she adjust her entry to help his "huge" trading position.

"He is placing emphasis that he has a huge fixing, he has a lot of money at stake," Waddington said. "Isn’t that what it’s telling you? Huge."

"It made no difference, so I didn’t think about it," Bohart said.

"It’s pretty obvious from his message," Waddington added.

Moryoussef has chosen not to appear at the trial or have a lawyer in court.

Euribor is calculated by using an average of submissions after discarding the highest and lowest 15 percent of submissions from a group of major banks.

Enormous Amount

On another occasion Moryoussef told Bohart he had a trade worth "50 billion" and needed a high submission.

"Didn’t that jump off the page for you?" Waddington said. "That’s an enormous amount."

"No, to me it made absolutely no difference, the size of his position," said Bohart, whose mother and siblings were in court for most of her three days of testimony.

"And you weren’t curious?" Waddington followed up.

"I don’t think I had time to be curious about it," Bohart said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.