Six bankers are formally charged in British court with conspiring to manipulate Euribor benchmark interest rates, while another five accused in the case did not appear for the hearing. Joel Flynn reports.
There were supposed to be 11 bankers arriving at Westminster Magistrates court on Monday. Only six showed up. Those that did appear were formally charged with conspiring to manipulate the benchmark Euribor interest rate. Four Germans and a French citizen did not appear. Reuters correspondent Kirsten Ridley was in court. SOUNDBITE: Reuters journalist, Kirsten Ridley, saying (English): "One legal source said that the paper work had been filled in wrongly by the Serious Fraud Office and the prosecutor James Waddington did say in court that there would be no legal obligations." This is the fourth rate rigging prosecution in the UK since it joined a global inquiry, which was kick-started by U.S. regulators in 2008. The 11 are former employees of Deutsche Bank, Barclays and Societe Generale - none of the banks commenting on the charges. Euribor rates, like the similar Libor benchmark, are compiled from estimates banks give of the cost of borrowing. This latest case focuses on accusations bankers deliberately over or understated this cost to make profit. BGC Partners' Mike Ingram says it's likely to fuel banker bashing. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BGC PARTNERS MARKET ANALYST, MIKE INGRAM, SAYING: "There seems to be - whether it's a perception gap or a reality gap, or a credibility gap in terms of what regulators think they have achieved in recent years and, in terms of improving the integrity of the financial system and the people that operate it and the public's perception about it, what has actually been done." Global investigations into interest rate fixing have so far clocked up around 9 billion dollars in regulatory settlements with more than 30 people charged. This latest case will begin its first hearing on Wednesday.