Ex-Barclays Traders to Face Retrial in London Euribor Case
(Bloomberg) -- Three former Barclays Plc traders accused of conspiring to rig a key interest-rate benchmark will face retrial in January, after a jury failed to reach a verdict in their case earlier this month.
The two-month trial of Colin Bermingham, Carlo Palombo, Sisse Bohart and several colleagues ended July 12 with the conviction of former Barclays trader Philippe Moryoussef and a not-guilty verdict on Deutsche Bank AG executive Achim Kraemer.
Serious Fraud Office prosecutor James Waddington said a new trial was in the public interest due to the harm the alleged misconduct had caused on the credibility of financial markets.
Moryoussef, who fled to France to avoid the trial, was sentenced to eight years in prison and a former Deutsche Bank trader, Christian Bittar, who pleaded guilty in March, got five years and four months. The others in the case testified that they were conducting business as instructed by their bosses.
Bohart’s lawyer, John Milner from IBB Solicitors, said he’d asked the SFO to avoid a new trial because their client and the other accused had lost much in the 14 years since the probe began, and banking regulation had improved.
“There’s been a huge personal and financial cost to Sisse Bohart and the people to go on trial will be junior people,” he said.
Prosecutors said that between 2005 and 2009, Bittar and Moryoussef were the ring leaders in the effort to rig Euribor, a benchmark that influences the price of thousands of securities. While the Serious Fraud Office won convictions of the pair -- the case’s primary targets -- the outcome raises questions about the prosecutors’ approach to the seven-year probe since none of the defendants who actually went on trial in London were convicted.
Palombo’s lawyer, John Hartley from Hodge Jones & Allen, said they were "naturally disappointed" by the SFO’s decision to seek a retrial and he was confident that he would be acquitted.
"We have already been through one very lengthy trial, at the end of which the SFO failed to convince a jury that Mr. Bermingham was guilty of any crime whatsoever," Rachel Adamson, Bermingham’s lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said. "It’s very disappointing they’ve have now chosen to attempt the process all over again at considerable expense to the taxpayer.”
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