As part of ongoing criminal proceedings brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), it has now been revealed that former Barclay’s trader, Mr Peter Johnson, has pleaded guilty to charges that he conspired to manipulate the LIBOR inter-bank lending rate.
In a new twist in ongoing proceedings at Southwalk Crown Court in London, it has emerged that the Judge in the trial has lifted an order which prohibited disclosure of the guilty plea entered by Mr Johnson. With the trial five other individuals facing the same charges as Johnson still ongoing, a banning order was originally imposed over concerns that Johnson’s guilty plea would prejudice the ongoing trial.
The other individuals standing trial – Jonathan Mathew, Stylianos Contogoulas, Jay Merchant, Alex Pabon and Ryan Reich – still maintain not guilty pleas in relation to LIBOR manipulation charges and the trial (which has already run for 5 weeks) continues.
In pleading guilty to the charges, Johnson becomes the first UK trader to admit an offence linked to LIBOR manipulation.
The crux of the SFO’s case against the defendants is that the men were dishonest when they themselves submitted, or asked colleagues to submit, LIBOR rates that were inaccurate and with the purpose of benefitting trading positions held by Barclays.