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