July 19 (UPI) — A federal appeals court overturned convictions Wednesday for two former traders in the attempted rigging of the London interbank rate.
Anthony Allen and Anthony Conti, former employees of Netherlands-headquartered Rabobank, were convicted on wire fraud and conspiracy charges in 2015 in a scandal involving manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate.
Allen received a two-year sentence and Conti one year. The rate, known as Libor, is regarded as a global benchmark for interest rates on loans, and is comprised of the average of interest rates estimated by major London banks in interbank loans.
Wednesday, the three-judge panel of New York’s Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed the charges against both, saying the charges were tainted.
In the unanimous 81-page ruling, Second Circuit Judge Jose Cabranes also wrote that the defendants’ Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination were violated when federal prosecutors relied on compelled testimony of a witness to Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority.
Justice Department prosecutors were aware that testimony was forced, the court said — and the fact it was used against Allen and Conti, Cabranes wrote, was “not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.”
More than a dozen major banks have acknowledged helping to rig Libor and have paid billions of dollars in fines and settlements. At least nine people have been convicted or pleaded guilty to Libor-related charges in the United States and Britain.
Rabobank paid $325 million to the Department of Justice — part of $1 billion settlement it paid to Dutch, British and U.S. authorities, the Wall Street Journal said.