Ex-Barclays man found guilty of rate-rigging

A former Barclays banker has been convicted of manipulating Euribor interest rates at the height of the financial crisis.

Colin Bermingham, an ex-managing director at the banking giant, stood accused of conspiring with former Deutsche Bank trader Christian Bittar and former Barclays director Philippe Moryoussef to submit false or misleading Euribor submissions.

This was done to “change the published rate and benefit their positions”, according to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which brought the prosecution at Southwark Crown Court.

Carlo Palombo, who used to head up euro rates at Barclays, was convicted of the same offence on Tuesday.

The SFO argued that the defendants and their employer made “substantial profits” as Euribor was sent upward or downward based on their dishonest submissions.

Bittar earned more than £57 million in salary and bonuses from Deutsche Bank between 2005 and 2009.

Palombo earned £5.4 million and Bermingham earned £3.5 million in the same period.

The bankers regularly discussed preparations to manipulate the rate and spoke of the importance of successfully rigging the rates, the SFO claimed.

In an October 2006 email, Moryoussef urged Palombo to raise the rate: “We have 2 billion on that date. We definitely have to make one BP (basis point) on that fixing. Good luck.”

SFO director Lisa Osofsky said: “Four senior bankers, now including a managing director, stand convicted in our Euribor rate-rigging case.

“By manipulating Euribor, these bankers damaged trust in a critical system that supports 180 trillion US dollars worth of financial products, including personal loans, pension investments and mortgage repayments.”

Euribor is a key euro financial benchmark rate used to set financial deals and underpins financial products including mortgage rates, savings rates and loans.

Palombo and Bermingham are due to be sentenced on April 1.

Bittar and Moryoussef were convicted of and sentenced for the same conspiracy in July 2018.

Former liquidity manager at Barclays Sisse Bohart was acquitted.

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