Traders’ fam­i­lies call for in­ves­ti­ga­tion into SFO’s ex­pert wit­ness in Li­bor rig­ging tri­als

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Lucy Bur­ton

THE fam­i­lies of three con­victed Li­bor traders have asked the Jus­tice Com­mit­tee to in­ves­ti­gate the Se­ri­ous Fraud Of­fice’s “se­lec­tion, re­ten­tion and over­sight” of an ex­pert paid more than £410,000 to tes­tify in the Li­bor tri­als.

Ex-Bar­clays bankers Alex Pabon and Jay Mer­chant as well as Tom Hayes, the first trader to be con­victed of rig­ging Li­bor, have urged Jus­tice Com­mit­tee chair­man Robert Neill to in­ves­ti­gate the SFO over its use of ex­pert wit­ness Saul Hay­don Rowe, ac­cord­ing to a let­ter signed by their fam­i­lies and seen by

The Daily Tele­graph. “It is un­clear the ex­tent to which the SFO ad­e­quately in­ves­ti­gated Rowe’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions, ex­per­tise and fit­ness to iden­tify as an ex­pert wit­ness in a com­pli­cated, high­pro­file crim­i­nal trial,” read the let­ter, which was sent to Mr Neill on Nov 10. Ques­tions were raised ear­lier this year af­ter for­mer trader Mr Rowe, whose firm was paid more than £410,000 by the SFO for him to ap­pear in High Court Li­bor tri­als, said he had texted friends for help un­der­stand­ing some of the terms used while tes­ti­fy­ing.

Around 100 of Mr Rowe’s emails and texts were dis­closed by the SFO dur­ing the re­trial of for­mer Bar­clays traders Ryan Re­ich and Stylianos Con­to­goulas, with both ac­quit­ted of con­spir­acy to de­fraud. The mes­sages show he was “not an ex­pert” and ig­nored di­rec­tions not to talk to any­one about his

ev­i­dence, the let­ter ar­gues. This is the third time the fam­i­lies have writ­ten to the Jus­tice Com­mit­tee with con­cerns over the han­dling of the tri­als, but the first time they have sent a let­ter specif­i­cally call­ing for a probe into the SFO’s choice of ex­pert wit­ness.

The move comes months af­ter re­ports were sent to the Metropoli­tan Po­lice over Mr Rowe’s cred­i­bil­ity as a wit­ness by some Li­bor traders. The Crim­i­nal Cases Re­view Com­mis­sion (CCRC) is also de­cid­ing whether to re­fer Mr Hayes’ case back to the Court of Ap­peal in light of the ques­tions now sur­round­ing Mr Rowe.

“We can­not com­ment on a com­plaint lodged about the con­duct of our ex­pert wit­ness, Saul Hay­don Rowe. The po­lice are seized of the mat­ter,” an SFO spokesman said.

The let­ter sent on Fri­day was signed on be­half of the traders by their fam­i­lies as Mr Mer­chant is cur­rently serv­ing a six-and-a-half year sen­tence for rig­ging Li­bor, a benchmark used to price tril­lions of pounds of fi­nan­cial prod­ucts around the world, while Mr Hayes is serv­ing 11 years in jail. Mr Pabon was re­leased in March.

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