Libor scandal: Witnesses to be called this week in trial of five ex-Barclays employees accused of conspiring to rig Libor

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The first witnesses are due to testify this week in the trial of five ex-Barclays bankers who are accused of working together to rig Libor.

Former Barclays traders Stylianos Contogoulas, Jay Merchant, Alex Pabon and Ryan Reich, along with one of Barclays' former Libor submitters Jonathan Mathew, have been charged with conspiracy to defraud on allegations of conspiring to manipulate US-dollar linked Libor between June 2005 and September 2007.

In the prosecution opening speech last week, the Serious Fraud Office's (SFO) lawyer, James Hines QC, urged the jury not the overcomplicate Libor and explained that rigging the benchmark rate was akin to a bookmaker asking a jockey not to try too hard if a punter had a substantial bet on his horse.

Meanwhile, during the defence opening speeches, William Clegg QC, argued that his client, Jonathan Mathew had only been following his boss' instructions and had not received any financial reward in relation to rate-rigging.

The defence counsel for Ryan Reich alleged that the British Bankers' Association, which oversaw the submissions for Libor during the timeframe concerned, was aware that Libor was being skewed by the commercial interests of the banks.

The trial, which is currently being heard at Southwark Crown Court, is scheduled to run for roughly 12 weeks. It is the third case the SFO has brought before a jury in its ongoing investigation into Libor fixing.

A charge of conspiracy to defraud carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

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