Good morning everyone, and thank you for being here today as we announce the latest law enforcement action in our ongoing, criminal investigation of the manipulation of LIBOR, a critical benchmark interest rate used by banks around the world. I am joined here today by our close partners – David Meister, the head of enforcement for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and Timothy Gallagher, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division.
Today, we announce criminal charges against three former ICAP brokers – Darrell Read, Daniel Wilkinson, and Colin Goodman – for scheming to deliberately manipulate the Yen LIBOR rate. As the charges unsealed today allege, the defendants repeatedly spread false information about the LIBOR rate to banks around the globe in order to move the market and illegally benefit a major client, a former senior trader at UBS in Tokyo. And in doing so, the defendants – as charged – brazenly abused the trust that banks placed in ICAP to provide an honest assessment of where Yen LIBOR should be set on any given day.
Their scheme was carried out in part through daily e-mails sent by defendant Goodman, whom his co-conspirators referred to as “Lord Libor.” Goodman’s emails to LIBOR panel banks, which purported to provide good-faith LIBOR assessments, in fact were seeded with false information and skewed to help their client at UBS fleece his counterparties.
The defendants’ motive was simple: they were driven by greed – their own greed and the greed of their client at UBS. Sometimes, the defendants would send to other banks a suggested rate that was, as defendant Read once put it, “as high as possible.” At other times, the defendants floated falsely low rates; as defendant Goodman once explained, he was “pushing” 6-month LIBOR “as low as I can!!” In private exchanges, defendant Read openly acknowledged that their fraudulent LIBOR assessments were “fudged” and “often skewed to help” their client at UBS make profits; and he warned of the need to be “very careful how you play it.”
To be sure, the defendants’ fraud was not volunteer work. In various internal exchanges that are set out in the criminal complaint, the defendants described exactly why they engaged in this scheme: they referred to their desire for higher bonuses; their quest to line their “pockets with silver”; and even a hoped-for “annual champagne shipment” – the kinds of material benefits they envisioned they would receive in exchange for spreading lies throughout the marketplace.
The important charges we are announcing today are just the latest actions in our ongoing and active LIBOR investigation, and come on the heels of the recent sentencing just this past week of UBS’s Japanese subsidiary for its role in manipulating LIBOR. All of these actions – as well as the criminal charges we have already brought against banks and bankers around the world for their manipulation of LIBOR – reflect the Justice Department’s continued commitment to investigating, and prosecuting, financial fraudsters who harm U.S. markets, whether they work at a bank, or a brokerage, and whether they carry out their fraud from a desk in the United States, or abroad.
Our criminal investigation of the manipulation of LIBOR by some of the largest banks in the world has led us from New York, to London, to Tokyo, and other financial hubs around the world. As these types of sophisticated fraud schemes reach across the globe, the Department will continue to work tirelessly to find the evidence, wherever it may be, and wherever it may lead, working together with our dedicated law enforcement partners.
I would like to commend the team of tenacious and tireless prosecutors from the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and from the Antitrust Division, as well as the many agents, accountants, and analysts at the FBI, who continue to investigate this complex scheme – as well as the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs for its excellent work. I would also like to acknowledge the fantastic assistance and close partnership of the CFTC; the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority; the Securities and Exchange Commission; and the U.K. Serious Fraud Office.