Barclays Workers’ Push for Libor Case Anonymity Rejected

A group of Barclays Plc employees had a request to prevent their names from being published ahead of the U.K.’s first trial related to manipulation of the London interbank offered rate rejected by a judge.

“I simply do not see that there is any sufficient case of prejudice” to the trial, Judge Julian Flaux said in dismissing the request yesterday.

Affiliates of Guardian Care Homes Ltd. sued Barclays over an interest-rate swap tied to Libor and argued the benchmark was manipulated. The swap resulted in a loss for the Wolverhampton, England-based Guardian and Barclays was ordered to give the company’s lawyers the identities and e-mails of bank staff that were included in disclosures to British and American regulators during a probe into interest-rate manipulation.

Barclays was fined 290 million pounds ($459 million) over its traders trying to manipulate Libor and other interest rates for profit, while UBS AG was fined $1.5 billion in December for rate-rigging. More than a dozen banks are being investigated in worldwide probes into whether they profited from abusing the process used to set Libor, the baseline for more than $300 trillion of financial contracts globally.

David Pannick, a lawyer for 24 Barclays workers, had argued that it was unfair for the employees to be identified when they weren’t parties to the lawsuit and could face serious allegations.

Barclays said the case was without merit and the names shouldn’t be released.

‘Innocent Individuals’

“The fact that someone is named in hundreds of thousands of pages of documents following a wide-ranging three-year investigation in which no stone was left unturned does not necessarily mean that person was involved in any wrongdoing,” Barclays spokesman Jon Laycock said in an e-mail. “Many entirely innocent individuals may be referred to in the documents underpinning the settlements” with regulators.

The names of any Barclays traders or executives won’t necessarily be published before the trial, Flaux said. Anything the bank discloses is still subject to confidentiality under court rules, unless it is mentioned in a pre-trial hearing.

Bloomberg News joined with other media organizations, including the Times in London, the Telegraph and the Financial Times in opposing the employees’ application for anonymity. The names weren’t immediately released after Flaux’s ruling.

“They may be grand, they may be wealthy, they may consider themselves above all this,” the newspapers’ lawyer Guy Vassall-Adams said before Flaux’s ruling. “They are just like any other witness in court proceedings up and down this country.”

The case is Graiseley Properties Ltd. & Ors. v. Barclays Bank Plc, High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division Commercial Court, No. 12-1259.