Three Former Barclays Employees Face Libor Charges in U.K. Court

Three former Barclays Plc Libor traders were charged by a U.K. prosecutor in a London court today in the latest criminal action in a two-year investigation of the interest rate benchmark.

Peter Charles Johnson, Jonathan James Mathew and Stylianos Contogoulas were charged at Westminster Magistrates’ Court with one count of conspiracy to defraud between June 2005 and August 2007. The three conspired with “other employees of Barclays Plc and its associated entities” to defraud with intent to “prejudice the economic interests of others,” prosecutors said in court documents. The next hearing will be held at a higher criminal court on March 3.

The U.K. Serious Fraud Office has charged six people in relation to manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. Prosecutors and regulators around the world are investigating whether more than a dozen firms colluded to rig the interest rate benchmark and have issued fines of about $6 billion against financial institutions. Eight people face prosecution in the U.S.

“Naturally, we don’t accept for one moment the characterization of the facts as portrayed by the SFO,” said Hugo Keith, a lawyer for Johnson.

The three defendants only spoke to confirm their ages and addresses. They have all been granted conditional bail, with Contogoulas paying a security of 40,000 pounds ($66,700) because he lives in Greece.

Tom Hayes, a former UBS AG and Citigroup Inc. banker, is scheduled in January to be the first person to stand trial for Libor manipulation in the U.K. Former RP Martin Holdings Ltd. brokers, Terry Farr and James Gilmour, are set to follow with a trial date in September 2015.

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