Barclays faces first Libor damages trial as UK judge sets key precedent

 
Tim Wallace
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BARCLAYS will face a full trial over Guardian Care Homes’ (GCH) claims that the bank mis-sold it an interest rate swap product, in a landmark legal case which will determine which other firms can claim banks mistreated them.

As part of the trial Barclays will have to send GCH 1.2m emails logged in its Libor manipulation probe.

GCH hopes they will prove senior managers at Barclays knew the bank was trying to fiddle the key interbank interest rate and so defrauded customers who bought products based on the rate.

The firm also claims it is an unsophisticated investor and was missold a costly interest rate swap.

But Barclays denies the claim.

“This business had a suite of advisors and a lot of financial experience and skill in-house,” the bank said in a statement. “We understand that Graiseley [GCH’s parent] entered into their swaps with sufficient understanding to exercise their own judgment as to whether the products would meet its business objectives.”

“They are a significant business which owes Barclays £70m. We do not believe the case has merit and will defend it.”

Yesterday’s hearing saw a judge approve the case for trial. Another hearing next month will determine the date of the trial, which is likely to fall in October 2013.