November 9, 2017 / 5:12 PM / 2 years ago

Second British Libor trader to have conviction examined

LONDON (Reuters) - A second former trader who was jailed in Britain for manipulating Libor interest rates will have his conviction reviewed by a public body that investigates potential miscarriages of justice.

Former Barclays employee Jonathan Mathew arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London March 3, 2014. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Files

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) will review the conviction of former Barclays (BARC.L) banker Jonathan Mathew alongside that of jailed Libor trader Tom Hayes, a CCRC spokesman said on Thursday.

“We are not at all surprised that they have accepted it (for review),” said Mathew’s lawyer Matthew Frankland, a partner at Byrne and Partners. “It is a powerful and legitimate invitation to the CCRC to consider the safety of that conviction.”

The CCRC, which has the power to refer cases back to the appeal courts, can investigate convictions or sentences on the basis of compelling new evidence or arguments in cases where people have exhausted other legal appeals.

Mathew was sentenced to four years in jail in 2016 after being found guilty of conspiring to rig Libor, the London interbank offered rate, that serves as a benchmark for interest rates on around $450 trillion of financial contracts and loans.

His lawyer said that “very real issues” had arisen since Mathew’s conviction, including compelling evidence that more than one witness has misled the court during the trial.

Scrutiny of Libor cases has been growing on both sides of the Atlantic. A U.S. appeals court in July overturned the convictions of two British former Rabobank traders over the use of compelled testimony in their trials.

The CCRC in April started examining the conviction of Hayes, a mildly autistic former UBS (UBSG.S) and Citigroup (C.N) trader, who was the first person jailed worldwide over Libor-rigging in 2015. He was initially handed a 14-year sentence, before his sentence was cut to 11 years on appeal.

Hayes and Mathew, who are among five men who have been convicted of Libor manipulation in Britain, will have their cases investigated by the same CCRC team, the spokesman said, although each case will ultimately turn on its own facts.

Mathew was jailed last year alongside three other former Barclays traders. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on two others, who were later acquitted after a retrial in April. The retrial raised questions about the credibility of the Serious Fraud Office prosecutor’s key banking witness.

Only a fraction of all cases received by the CCRC are referred back to the appeal courts. The commission says cases are only referred if there is a “real possibility” that an appeal court would quash the conviction or change a sentence.

Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; editing by Alexander Smith

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