Ex-UBS desk head gets 18 months

'Part of a corrupt corporate culture that spanned years'.

Bloomberg News reports that former UBS managing director Peter Ghavami was sentenced to 18 months in prison for rigging what should have been competitive bids for municipal bond investment deals.

Ghavami, 45, and former UBS colleagues Gary Heinz and Michael Welty were sentenced Wednesday in Manhattan by U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood for their roles in the scheme. Heinz, 40, was sentenced to 27 months in prison as the judge weighed failed charges against him of witness tampering. Welty, 49, received a 16-month sentence.

'The offenses for which these three are being sentenced are very serious', Wood said in court. 'They were part of a corrupt corporate culture that spanned years'.

The case stemmed from a five-year federal antitrust probe into the $3.7 trillion municipal bond market. UBS, Bank of America and other banks have paid more than $700m to settle U.S. claims over the scheme.

Prosecutors alleged that the three men conspired with competitors and brokers to manipulate bidding for dozens of deals from about 2001 to 2004, costing municipalities, school districts and other bond issuers, as well as the U.S. Treasury, millions of dollars in losses.

Hit the link below to access the complete Bloomberg article:

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