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Ex-Rabobank traders seek vindication as U.S. Libor trial closes
November 3, 2015 / 10:02 PM / 2 years ago

Ex-Rabobank traders seek vindication as U.S. Libor trial closes

By Nate Raymond
    NEW YORK, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Lawyers for two former Rabobank
 traders urged jurors on Tuesday to reject U.S. charges
that they schemed to manipulate Libor interest rates, arguing
the prosecution's case relied on out-of-context emails, instant
messages and data.
    The arguments came during the trial in federal court in
Manhattan of Anthony Allen, 44, and Anthony Conti, 46, who are
accused of helping manipulate benchmark interest rates to
benefit the Dutch lender in trading derivatives linked to Libor.
    Libor, short for London interbank offered rate, is a
short-term rate banks charge each other for loans and underpins
hundreds of trillions of dollars in financial products globally.
It is calculated daily based on submissions by a panel of banks.
 
    The case is the first by the Justice Department to go to
trial following global investigations into whether various banks
submitted artificial rate estimates to bolster profits on
trading derivatives tied to Libor.
    Brian Young, a lawyer for the U.S. Justice Department, told
jurors the two British citizens were "active and enthusiastic
participants" in a conspiracy at Rabobank to rig Libor rates,
and in participating "left a paper trail a mile long."
    "These defendants were not entitled to use Libor rates to
line their own pockets and Rabobank's," he said.
    But Michael Schachter, Allen's lawyer, argued the
prosecution case against his client boiled down to just 12
emails and instant messages over four years in which traders
told Allen their preferences about how to set Libor.
    Rather than asking why traders were making requests, "the
better question is why they didn't ask more," he said. 
    The evidence showed Allen, Rabobank's former global head of
liquidity and finance, considered their requests "irrelevant"
and that traders knew that he ignored them, he said.
    "The more you dig in, the more the prosecution's case falls
apart," Schachter said.
    Aaron Williamson, Conti's lawyer, acknowledged his client
did factor in traders' positions in his role setting the U.S.
dollar Libor rate.
    But Williamson argued Conti, a senior trader, believed he
was allowed to do so and "only took traders positions into
account when they were consistent with his own honest estimate"
of what the rate should be, which Libor data demonstrated.
    Investigations into rate rigging resulted in charges against
22 people in the United States and United Kingdom and $9 billion
in regulatory settlements with financial institutions, including
Rabobank, which agreed to $1 billion in settlements in 2013.
    The case is U.S. v. Allen, U.S. District Court, Southern
District of New York, No. 14-cr-00272.

 (Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Alden
Bentley)

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