U.K. prosecutors charged 10 former Deutsche Bank AG and Barclays Plc employees with manipulating a benchmark interest rate, including high-profile trader Christian Bittar, with an 11th facing indictment as soon as next week.
Six traders from Deutsche Bank employees and four from Barclays were charged with conspiracy to manipulate the Euribor benchmark, the Serious Fraud Office said in a statement Friday. Another trader listed anonymously in court documents may also be charged, according to three people familiar with the case.
Alongside Bittar, those linked to Deutsche Bank are Andreas Hauschild, Joerg Vogt, Ardalan Gharagozlou, Achim Kraemer and Kai-Uwe Kappauf. Former Barclays employees Colin Bermingham, Carlo Palombo, Philippe Moryoussef and Sisse Bohart also face charges.
The SFO won the first conviction by trial tied to benchmark manipulation in August, when former UBS Group AG trader Tom Hayes was found guilty of rigging the London interbank offered rate and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Banks and other financial institutions have paid about $9 billion in fines tied to Libor and other key rates. One other person has pleaded guilty in the Libor probe.
Spokespeople for Barclays and Deutsche Bank declined to comment. Lawyers for Bittar, Hauschild and Moryoussef said they will contest the allegations. Lawyers for the other eight either declined to comment or didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The nine men and one woman are scheduled to appear in a London magistrates court on Jan. 11.
Documents distributed in the case have listed an unidentified 11th trader that will be charged, according to people familiar with the matter who declined to be named because the prosecution isn’t public. The trader could be charged as soon as next week, one of the people said.
Other than Bermingham, the 10 defendants named by the SFO all live outside Britain, according to an SFO spokeswoman. Bittar and Moryoussef live in Singapore, Bohart in Denmark and Palombo in the U.S. and Italy, while the remaining five are in Germany. All have been notified they face charges. No extradition requests have been made and all appearances will be voluntary at present, the SFO said.
The charges are the first in the SFO’s investigation of Libor manipulation that relate to its euro counterpart — the Euro interbank offered rate. The agency said more individuals will be prosecuted. The SFO has charged a total of 23 individuals to date.
Barclays was the first firm to be fined over Libor rigging in June 2012, with a 290 million-pound ($442 million) penalty from U.S. and U.K. authorities. The London-based lender’s then-CEO Robert Diamond resigned over the scandal as did Chairman Marcus Agius. Deutsche Bank received a record $2.5 billion fine this year and was forced to fire seven employees to settle U.S. and U.K. investigations. The German lender had already fired a number of other employees over the issue.
Bittar won a suit against the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority this week over his identification in the Deutsche Bank penalty notice. Bittar claimed the FCA hadn’t sufficiently anonymized him in the sanction report, which meant he should have been given the right to review the allegations before they were published.
The FCA is obliged to give a person the chance to respond to a report before it’s made public if they’re identifiable. The regulator is facing claims from at least eight other traders over the issue and has been granted permission to appeal for a ruling on the matter from the U.K. Supreme Court, the highest court in the country.