Barclays U.K. Executives Said to Face Libor Interviews With SFOby
Serious Fraud Office questioning bankers over lowballing
Four Barclays bankers were jailed this year for rigging libor
The U.K. Serious Fraud Office called in a number of current and former Barclays Plc executives for interviews over Libor as the agency presses ahead with another strand of a wide-ranging probe into the manipulation of benchmark rates, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
The prosecutor is in the process of questioning individuals over their actions during the 2008 financial crisis, which saw banks lower their London interbank offered rate submissions to make them appear healthier, said the person, who didn’t want to be identified because the interviews aren’t public.
SFO prosecutors told a London court earlier this year that the agency was investigating Libor lowballing and planning to carry out interviews with Barclays executives in the coming months. Those comments were made during the trial of a group of Barclays traders accused of manipulating the U.S. dollar version of Libor. Four of the men were convicted in July.
Spokespeople for the SFO and Barclays declined to comment. Libor is a key interest-rate benchmark behind more than $350 trillion in securities. The Financial Times first reported the interviews on Sunday.
The SFO has charged 24 people with crimes related to Libor since opening its investigation in 2012. Tom Hayes, a former UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. trader, was the first person convicted by a jury last year over Yen Libor rigging. Six traders who worked at Barclays and Deutsche Bank AG are scheduled to go on trial in September accused of manipulating the euro interbank offered rate, or Euribor, the euro counterpart of Libor.
A number of the traders have argued their bosses knew about and encouraged their behavior. The lowballing probe could result in the first charges against senior executives.