Two Former Rabobank Traders Sentenced to Prison for Manipulating U.S. Dollar and Japanese Yen LIBOR Interest Rates
Two former derivatives traders at Rabobank Coöperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. (Rabobank) – including the bank’s former global head of liquidity and finance in London – were sentenced to prison today for manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rates (LIBOR) for the U.S. Dollar (USD) and Japanese Yen (JPY), benchmark interest rates to which trillions of dollars in interest rate contracts were tied.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and Assistant Director in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
Anthony Allen, 44, of Hertsfordshire, England, the bank’s former global head of liquidity and finance in London, was sentenced to 24 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the Southern District of New York. Anthony Conti, 46, of Essex, England, a former senior trader on the bank’s money markets desk in London, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison. A federal jury convicted the defendants on Nov. 5, 2015, after a four-week trial. Allen was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and 18 counts of wire fraud. Conti was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and eight counts of wire fraud.
“Allen and Conti were entrusted to set LIBOR, a critically important interest rate benchmark,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “Their scheme to manipulate this rate to increase their bank's profits undermined the integrity of our financial markets and the public's confidence in the fairness of the financial system. This case demonstrates our commitment to work with domestic and foreign law enforcement authorities and regulators to hold financial criminals responsible for their crimes and ensure the integrity of the marketplace for investors worldwide.”
“Large banks, like other companies, only conspire and commit fraud through their executives,” said Assistant Attorney General Baer. “The Department of Justice will continue to hold those executives accountable for their role in corporate wrongdoing. Working with our partners at the Criminal Division and FBI, the Antitrust Division will continue to target fraud and collusion to ensure that markets function as they should – freely, fairly and competitively.”
“The prison sentences imposed today underscore the serious nature and extent of manipulation that Conti and Allen undertook as part of their scheme to defraud financial institutions and investors,” said Assistant Director in Charge Abbate. “The investigative and prosecutorial team that investigated and tried this case in court are to be commended for their dedicated and tireless work in furtherance of uncovering the LIBOR-related fraud and holding accountable those who committed these crimes.”
LIBOR is the primary benchmark for short term interest rates for several currencies around the world and is used as a reference rate for many financial products, including interest rate contracts, mortgages, credit cards and student loans. At the time relevant to the charges, LIBOR was calculated for 10 currencies at 15 maturities, ranging from overnight to one year, and was published by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), a London-based trade association, based on submissions from a panel of 16 banks, including Rabobank.
The evidence at trial showed that the defendants actively participated in a scheme to rig the USD and JPY LIBORs to benefit their own trading positions, as well as those of their colleagues. Specifically, between 2005 and 2009, the evidence showed that Allen oversaw a system in which Rabobank employees who traded LIBOR-linked derivatives made improper requests to the employees who submitted Rabobank’s LIBOR contributions to the BBA. Conti was the primary USD LIBOR submitter and Paul Robson, who previously pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge, was the primary JPY LIBOR submitter.
In addition to Allen, Conti and Robson, two other former Rabobank employees have been convicted in the Rabobank LIBOR investigation. Lee Stewart and Takayuki Yagami each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy in connection with their roles in the scheme. Two other former Rabobank employees, Tetsuya Motomura, 43, of Tokyo, and Paul Thompson, 50, of Dalkeith, Australia, have also been charged and are awaiting trial. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Rabobank entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the department on Oct. 29, 2013, and agreed to pay a $325 million penalty to resolve violations arising from Rabobank’s LIBOR submissions.
The FBI investigated the case. Senior Litigation Counsel Carol Sipperly and Assistant Chief Brian Young of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Trial Attorney Michael T. Koenig of the Antitrust Division prosecuted the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and Deputy Chief Daniel Braun and Assistant Chief Brent Wible of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are thanked for their substantial assistance in this matter.
The Justice Department expresses its appreciation for the assistance provided by various enforcement agencies in the United States and abroad. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Enforcement referred this matter to the department and, along with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, played a major role in the LIBOR investigation. The Securities and Exchange Commission also played a significant role in the LIBOR series of investigations, and the department expresses its appreciation to the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office for its assistance and ongoing cooperation. The department has worked closely with the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the Dutch Central Bank in the investigation of Rabobank. Various agencies and enforcement authorities from other nations are also participating in different aspects of the broader investigation relating to LIBOR and other benchmark rates, and the department is grateful for their cooperation and assistance.
Today’s conviction is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants, including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.