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Former UBS trader's alleged Libor rigging actions were part and parcel of work culture, court hears

Hayley Kirton
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UBS building
A 2012 decision notice against UBS pointed to issues with the bank's culture (Source: Getty)

A former UBS trader facing a ban from the City watchdog for playing a role in manipulating Libor likely did so in a work environment where his actions were seen as commonplace, a court was told today.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) moved to ban ex-trader Arif Hussein back in April. However, the ban is not currently in force as Hussein is taking action against the FCA in the Upper Tribunal.

In a case management hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice today, Sara George from Stephenson Harwood, who is representing Hussein, argued the former trader had been working against a culture where the actions the FCA claimed amounted to Libor rigging were widespread.

However, she added her client had not been provided with enough access to information relating to UBS' culture and workplace practices to give the former trader a shot at a successful argument.

Without access to the information "we cannot have a fair trial," stated George.

However, the judge overseeing the hearing noted the bank's culture had already been outlined clearly in a final notice issued against it by the FCA, which was information that was already in the public domain. UBS was fined £160m in 2012 for failings related to Libor and Euribor.

Today's hearing was aiming to establish what information could and could not be disclosed at Hussein's tribunal, and was not to establish whether the FCA's ban could be upheld against Hussein. The case management hearing will continue tomorrow.

UBS declined to comment on what was discussed at the hearing.

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