A US court has thrown out convictions of two former Deutsche Bank traders for rigging Libor, a key financial benchmark.
In a decision handed down yesterday, a US district judge said the government lacked evidence for its conviction and “failed to show that any of the trader-influenced submissions were false, fraudulent, or misleading.” Acquittals have been ordered for former traders Matthew Connolly and Gavin Black, who in 2018 were convicted of wire fraud and conspiracy.
Connolly was sentenced to six months of home confinement and fined $100,000 while Black received nine months of home confinement and a $300,000 fine. Federal prosecutors had sought “substantial” prison time for both.
“We are elated that Matt Connolly has been fully exonerated in this contrived case,” said Kenneth Breen, a partner at Paul Hastings.
Black’s lawyer Seth Levine said he was “deeply appreciative” of the outcome. “Mr. Black did his job, as he has lived his life, with honor and honesty,” Levine said.
The Libor rigging scandal, which saw banks fiddle with interest rates underpinning trillions of dollars worth of financial products, sent shockwaves through global markets. Charges over libor rigging resulted in about $9bn of fines for banks, including a $2.5bn fine for Deutsche Bank in 2015.
British trader Tom Hayes, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for libor rigging while working at Citigroup and UBS, had an appeal request quashed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission just last month.