Four years ago, Bob Diamond sensationally quit as chief executive of Barclays as a scandal over Libor-rigging sent shockwaves through London’s banks.
Two years later, on 6 July 2012, the Serious Fraud Office (known as the SFO) kicked off a criminal investigation into the manipulation of Libor – the “London Interbank Offered Rate”, an interest rate benchmark used for everything from commercial loans to mortgages.
Since then, banks have been fined billions of pounds and dollars by regulators on both sides of the Atlantic, for offences related to benchmark rigging.
Meanwhile, today, the SFO’s ongoing investigation reached a turning point, as the jury on the third Libor trial was discharged after finding three men guilty but being unable to reach a decision on the other two.
Confused? Here’s a timeline of the Libor cases brought against individuals in the UK to date:
Libor 1 - Verdict delivered August 2015
The first court case was decided in the SFO’s favour, with a jury finding former UBS and Citigroup trader Tom Hayes guilty of offences related to manipulating yen-linked Libor. Hayes was initially sentenced to 14 years in prison on eight counts of conspiracy to defraud, although this was reduced to 11 years by the Court of Appeal in December. Hayes had intended to appeal to the Supreme Court but his application was blocked earlier this year. There is currently a crowdfunding campaign running on Fundrazr to cover the costs taking his case to the Criminal Cases Review Commission and, at time of writing, it had raised just £23,705 of its £150,000 target. Hayes has also been ordered to hand over £878,806 under a confiscation order.
Libor 2 - Verdict delivered January 2016
In a bit of a blow for the SFO, six former brokers who were accused of conspiring with the already-convicted Hayes were found not guilty. The jury returned to deliver not guilty verdicts for five of the men – Colin Goodman and Danny Wilkinson, both ex-Icap workers; Noel Cryan, formerly of Tullett Prebon; and Terry Farr and James Gilmour, who both used to work for RP Martin – just one day after being sent out to consider its verdict. The sixth defendant, former ICAP broker Darrell Read, was also found not guilty of one charge against him on the same day the others were acquitted, before the jury returned the following morning to find him not guilty of a second charge.
Libor 3 - Verdict delivered June 2016
After a trial lasting just shy of three months, former Barclays traders Jay Merchant and Alex Pabon and former Libor submitter Jonathan Mathew were all found guilty on a charge of conspiracy to defraud relating to manipulating US dollar linked Libor. The jury was unanimous in its verdict for Merchant, but was split 11-1 for Mathew and 10-2 for Pabon. Meanwhile, the jury was unable to agree on a verdict for ex-Barclays traders Stylianos Contogoulas and Ryan Reich. The SFO went into the courtroom having secured a guilty plea from former Barclays submitted Peter Johnson around a year and half before the trial even began.