Five individuals were acquitted of conspiracy to defraud by a jury at London’s Southwark Crown Court Wednesday in the UK Serious Fraud Office’s ongoing criminal prosecutions for manipulating LIBOR — the interest rate banks pay to borrow money from each other in the London market.
Colin John Goodman, Danny Martin Wilkinson, Terry John Farr, James Andrew Gilmour, and Noel Anthony Cryan were found not guilty of all charges following a four month trial.
A sixth defendant, Darrell Paul Read, was found not guilty on one count and the jury continued to consider Read’s case on a further count.
Read, Goodman, and Wilkinson are all former employees at ICAP Plc; Farr and Gilmour of RP Martin Holdings Limited; and Cryan of Tullett Prebon Group Ltd.
The SFO alleged that all six conspired with Tom Hayes, who was convicted after a trial last year and sentenced to 14 years in prison. An appeals court later reduced his sentence to nine years.
The SFO said the defendants acted on instructions from Hayes to influence the submissions of panel banks in the Yen LIBOR setting process.
The trial began on October 6 last year. The jury deliberated just one day before reaching a verdict.
SFO director David Green said Wednesday:
The key issue in this trial was whether these defendants were party to a dishonest agreement with Tom Hayes. By their verdicts the jury have said that they could not be sure that this was the case. Nobody could sensibly suggest that these charges should not have been brought and considered by a jury.
Green accepted the LIBOR case for investigation in July 2012, reversing a decision by his predecessor.
The London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, is the average interest rate at which banks can borrow unsecured funds from one another in the London market. A huge number of investments and trades are linked to LIBOR, including some commercial and consumer loans, savings rates, and mortgages.
The SFO so far has charged 19 defendants in the case.
Another trial of individuals charged with manipulating the U.S. Dollar LIBOR is scheduled to begin on February 15.
A trial of individuals charged with fixing the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (EURIBOR) is scheduled to start on September 4, 2017.
The SFO said it received help in the investigation from the U.S. Justice Department and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.