Former Barclays pair - Stylianos Contogoulas and Ryan Reich - acquitted of Libor charges

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Stylianos Contogoulas is one of the two men to be cleared of Libor charges (Source: Getty)

Two former Barclays traders have been acquitted of Libor charges.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had accused Stylianos Contogoulas, 45, and Ryan Reich, 35, of playing roles in a conspiracy to fix the benchmark rate between 1 June 2005 and 1 September 2007.

The trial, which was heard at Southwark Crown Court, lasted around six weeks.

Read more: Accused Barclays trader was a Libor "rookie", court told

However, the jury, which was sent out to consider its decision on Wednesday, reached its verdict for Reich after a matter of hours and for Contogoulas this morning.

This is the second time both men had been in the dock. The pair stood trial for the same charges last summer but a jury could not reach a decision, even though it convicted three of their former colleagues.

Jay Merchant was sentenced to six-and-a-half years, Jonathan Mathew was jailed for four years, and Alex Pabon received two years and nine months. All worked at Barclays.

Another Barclays banker, Peter Johnson, who pleaded guilty, was jailed for four years.

"I would like to thank the jury for the swift and unanimous verdict that has cleared my name," a statement from Reich read. "For the last eight years I have consistently explained that I acted appropriately, honestly, and in accordance with the rules at the time. I am relieved and delighted to have been acquitted."

Although the SFO's five-year investigation into Libor has resulted in five convictions - notably former UBS and Citigroup trader Tom Hayes, who is currently serving an 11-year sentence - today's announcement brings the total number of people acquitted at trial to eight.

An SFO spokesperson said: "This Libor retrial concerns two of six individuals, four of whom were previously convicted. As prosecutors we proceed on the evidence and put our best case before a jury – we do not win every case."

In January last year, a jury acquitted six brokers who had been accused of conspiring with Hayes, returning their verdicts within days of being sent out after a trial that lasted months.

Read more: Senior Barclays' banker believes bank's Libor rules had flaws, court hears

Barclays was the first bank to cough up a fine to the Financial Services Authority (the City regulator at the time), paying just shy of £60m in 2012, as well as around £230m to US authorities.

Jonathan Pickworth, partner at law firm White & Case, said: "It is another lightning-quick acquittal following a lengthy trial, which tells us all we need to know about what the jury thought of the prosecution case."

Pickworth added: "No doubt there will be a post-mortem at the SFO. There is going to need to be a lot of thought about the merit of pursuing other benchmark trials".

The SFO is also bringing a prosecution of six individuals who deny manipulating Euribor, with the six due to stand trial in September.

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