The Daily Telegraph

British former Deutsche Bank trader has Libor ‘rigging’ conviction in US overturned

- By Simon Foy

A FORMER City of London trader has had his “rigging” conviction overturned by a US judge despite previously pleading guilty.

Mike Curtler, a former Deutsche Bank trader, was among 38 ex-traders and brokers to be prosecuted by the US Justice Department for fixing Libor interest rates more than a decade ago.

However, Mr Curtler’s conviction has been thrown out after an appeal court judge ruled that no laws had been broken.

David Krakoff, Mr Curtler’s lawyer, said: “We are extremely pleased that Mr Curtler has been cleared and that the courts have decided that there was no wrongdoing whatsoever.”

The decision is the latest twist in the Libor scandal, which resulted in around $9bn (£7.8bn) of global fines for some of the world’s biggest banks.

Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, once known as the world’s most important number, has been used since the 1980s as a benchmark for lending between banks.

However, in 2012, traders were found to be fixing the rate for their own benefit or were artificial­ly lowering Libor to flatter their own financial reputation­s.

They secretly conspired on an internet chat service, with one banker agreeing to rig the market in exchange for a free sushi roll.

Mr Curtler admitted to acting on email requests that seemingly were intended to manipulate the Libor rate, but the US appeal court judge ruled in January that the requests were not illegal.

If the case had gone to trial Mr Curtler would have faced up to 15 years in jail. In the UK, nine former bankers have been convicted over the scandal, including former UBS trader Tom Hayes who spent five and a half years in prison.

The Serious Fraud Office claimed the EX-UBS and Citigroup star was at the centre of a network of traders at 10 firms that conspired to manipulate the Libor benchmark. Mr Hayes has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and has tried to have his conviction overturned.

The City watchdog is currently in the process of phasing out the scandalhit benchmark.

Last year, a US regulator handed a record-breaking award of almost $200m to a former Deutsche Bank employee who blew the whistle about Libor rigging.

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