Libor trial: Barclays trader thought compliance team knew of rate setting emails, court hears

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The trial involving five Barclays' traders is expected to last 12 months (Source: Getty)

One of the former Barclays traders standing trial over conspiracy to manipulate the US dollar Libor rate says he thought the bank's compliance department had access to emails between traders and rate setters, a court heard today.

Defence lawyers for Stylianos Contogoulas told the court: "These messages were not transmitted with a nod and a wink."

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has alleged that Contogoulas, Jay Merchant, Alex Pabon and Ryan Reich, along with one of Barclays' former Libor submitter Jonathan Mathew, dishonestly agreed to procure, or make false or misleading submissions of rates into the dollar Libor-setting process between June 2005 and September 2007.

The jury was told this morning that all communication between the New York desk and setters in London was openly expressed in emails and Contogoulas believed his communications with New York traders were being monitored by the bank.

Contogoulas also claims his remuneration and bonuses were not affected by his Libor submissions.

Last week the court heard that Mathew, who joined at the age of 19 after achieving three A-levels, did not stand to gain from profit made by traders

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.

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.