US court overturns convictions of former Rabobank traders over Libor manipulation

Maria Nikolova

According to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the case against Anthony Allen and Anthony Conti was based on compelled testimony and such testimony cannot be used to secure a conviction in an American court.

court

A followup to the FinanceFeeds’ article about two ex-Rabobank traders appealing their conviction in a Libor manipulation trial….

Today, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York overturned the convictions of Anthony Allen and Anthony Conti, saying their right against self-incrimination under the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution had been violated. According to a report by Reuters, the appeal has focused on testimony from former Rabobank colleague Paul Robson, who was cooperating with prosecutors, about testimony that Allen and Conti had been compelled to give UK regulators.

The appeals court sided with Allen and Conti that admitting this testimony violated their rights.

“Compelled testimony cannot be used to secure a conviction in an American court,” Circuit Judge Jose Cabranes  said.

The defendants were alleged to have actively participated in a scheme to rig the USD and JPY LIBORs to benefit their own trading positions, as well as those of their colleagues. In particular, between 2005 and 2009, Allen oversaw a system in which Rabobank employees who traded LIBOR-linked derivatives allegedly made improper requests to the employees who submitted Rabobank’s LIBOR contributions to the BBA. Conti was the primary USD LIBOR submitter and Paul Robson was the primary JPY LIBOR submitter.

Today’s court ruling will add power to the criticisms against US authorities for failing to prosecute adequately financial crimes. In the UK, the Serious Fraud Office has been under fire too over Libor investigations. Lord James of Blackheath has starkly criticized the way UK regulators and authoritative bodies have handled LIBOR-related issues. He slammed the SFO over the “experts” it provided with regards to LIBOR-related trials. He noted that the expert witness provided by the SFO had broken down in the fourth trial, and had confessed that “he did not know the first thing about LIBOR, had never worked a day in the LIBOR market and had been given coaching by the SFO as to what to say to convince the jury”.

In April this year, another Libor manipulation case was brought to an end with a favourable outcome for the defendants, as two former Barclays traders – Stylianos Contogoulas and Ryan Michael Reich were acquitted of charges of Conspiracy to Defraud by a jury at Southwark Crown Court following a retrial.

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