Defendants in Libor-fixing case may be named, court rules

More than 100 employees or former employees of Barclays failed in a bid to prevent their names becoming public

More than 100 bankers have failed in a bid to prevent their names being revealed during preliminary hearings of a high court case centred on alleged rigging of the key London interbank offered rate (Libor) by Barclays staff.

The bankers – employees or former employees of Barclays – wanted their identities kept secret during pre-trial hearings in London. But a high court judge ruled that identifying them was in the public interest after objections raised by the media.

More than a dozen firms are airing grievances with Barclays in litigation which lawyers call a “test case”.

Bosses at companies which run care homes are suing the bank after claiming that Barclays sold financial products without telling them that the inter-bank lending rate on which they were based was likely to have been “undermined” by manipulation.

Barclays, which was fined for “misconduct and wrongdoing” in relation to manipulation of Libor, disputes the companies’ allegations.

Mr Justice Flaux said open justice was a “fundamental principle” of the legal system and bankers had not established that their case justified him making an exception to that rule.

He said 106 people – who were employees or former employees of Barclays – had made the application and that 24 of those were on a “shortlist” of people believed to have been “involved”.

The email accounts of others had been provided to regulators investigating alleged Libor manipulation. Mr Justice Flaux said the Libor case would examine “how far up the chain” the responsibility went.

“That there was manipulation of Libor is clear because that is what the regulator has found and there has been a whopping great fine,” he told the court. “The issue is how far up the chain did this go.”

Barclays, which is defending the case, said the naming of individuals could be unfair: “The fact that someone is named in hundreds of thousands of pages of documents following a wide-ranging three-year investigation in which no stone was left unturned does not necessarily mean that that person was involved in any wrongdoing.

“Many entirely innocent individuals may be referred to in the documents underpinning the settlements.”

A trial is expected to take place later this year or next year. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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