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City firms called on as SFO launches Euribor prosecution against Deutsche Bank and Barclays staff

K&L Gates, Stephenson Harwood, Herbert Smith Freehills are among the City law firms instructed as the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) today (13 November) issued the first criminal proceedings against ten former employees of Deutsche Bank and Barclays accused of manipulating the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor).

Employees from both banks have been charged with ‘conspiracy to defraud’ following the SFO’s ongoing investigation into the manipulation of Euribor, which saw European regulators accuse banks of colluding to manipulate the key interest rate benchmark in an attempt to influence the prices of financial instruments.

The criminal proceedings come after Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and Société Générale admitted their involvement in a Euribor cartel in 2013. The banks, excluding Barclays, accepted a fine of £850m between them.

Deutsche Bank employees accused include high profile trader Christian Bittar, as well as Achim Kraemer, Andreas Hauschild, Joerg Vogt, Ardalan Gharagozlou and Kai-Uwe Kappauf. They will be represented by K&L Gates, Howard Kennedy, Hickman Rose, Stephenson Harwood, Kingsley Napley, and Brown Rudnick respectively.

Barclays Bank employees Colin Bermingham, Philippe Moryoussef, Sisse Bohart and Carlo Palombo will be defended by Herbert Smith Freehills, Hickman Rose, Morton L Wagner, and Simon Muirhead and Burton respectively.

Emma Deacon of 5 Paper Buildings and James Waddington QC of 9-12 Bell Yard will represent the SFO.

The SFO said criminal proceedings will be issued against other individuals ‘in due course’. The charges are the first in the SFO’s investigation of interest rate manipulation that relate to Euribor.

The defendants will make their first appearance at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 11 January 2016 while the SFO’s investigation continues.

The proceedings follows recent success for the SFO, which secured the conviction of former UBS and Citigroup yen derivatives trader Tom Hayes, in August of conspiracy to defraud in the Yen Libor setting process and sentenced to 14 years in prison.