A Deutsche Bank employee on trial for allegedly conspiring to fix the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor) said he "didn't think much about it" when he overheard fellow employees making requests for low or high submissions.
Achim Kraemer, who is still a cash trader for Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, told Southwark crown court that while he had overheard fellow traders making their own requests for submissions for the Euribor rate, he didn't think it was inappropriate and was "perfectly normal".
When asked what he thought when he overheard these exchanges, Kraemer replied: "I thought it was fine."
He continued: "I thought at the end of the process there is a submitter team that assesses various factors and that they may have a couple of numbers in a potential range, a couple of choices that they would consider and therefore could or could not consider it. I didn't think much about it."
When asked whether he thought there was a fraud going on "right in front of him", he replied: "No."
Kraemer is one of five defendants charged with conspiracy to defraud by allegedly rigging the Euribor rate, an interest rate benchmark linked to trillions of dollars worth of loans and derivatives.
The Serious Fraud Office has accused the traders of conspiring with submitters to put in rates that would favour the deals traders had on their books in a way that manipulated the rate relied on by the European financial system and that caused losses for other parties.
Along with Kraemer, former Barclays traders Carlo Palombo, Sisse Bohart, Colin Bermingham and Philippe Moryoussef – who has decided not to attend the trial – stand accused of the crime, which carries a 10-year prison sentence.
The court heard how Kraemer didn't "think much" of Moryoussef, who he said "never showed up" to meetings of the Euribor ACI derivates working group that they were both members of. The ACI is a trade body that helped set up Euribor.
Kraemer said Moryoussef "didn't seem to be interested" in doing any work that contributed to the working group. "I was starting to get annoyed with him, to be honest.
"I just didn't think he was sort of very supportive or even engaged in any way. I wanted obviously people to communicate in the working group from their angle, from their countries to do something to support our work, and he didn't seem prepared in that, and that's why I didn't particularly like him."
Deutsche Bank declined to comment.