Barclays Staff Seek Anonymity in U.K. Libor-Fixing Case

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

“It’s simply unfair for persons to be named in circumstances where they are not parties to the claim and where there are, or may be, serious allegations being made against them,” David Pannick, a lawyer for 24 Barclays workers, said at a London court hearing today.

Affiliates of Guardian Care Homes Ltd. sued Barclays to revoke an interest-rate swap because the product, which resulted in a substantial loss for the Wolverhampton, England-based company, was tied to the benchmark that Guardian argues was set dishonestly. A trial is scheduled for later this year.

Barclays has been ordered to give Guardian’s lawyers the identities and e-mails of staff that were included in disclosures to British and American regulators during a probe that resulted in the bank being fined 290 million pounds ($460 million) for traders trying to manipulate Libor and other interest rates for profit.

Two British newspapers, The Times and The Telegraph, opposed the employees’ application for anonymity.

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

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. In addition to Barclays, UBS AG was fined $1.5 billion in December for rate-rigging.

Kevin Roberts, a lawyer for the employees, and Barclays spokesman Jon Laycock didn’t immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment

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

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