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'Lord Libor' brands trial 'a complete shambles' as City brokers are cleared

Published 27/01/2016

The five men were cleared of conspiracy to defraud at Southwark Crown Court
The five men were cleared of conspiracy to defraud at Southwark Crown Court

Five brokers accused of trying to fix the Libor rates have been cleared, with one who had been nicknamed Lord Libor branding the case against them as "a complete shambles".

Prosecutors had alleged the men conspired with a currency trader to fix Libor rates in exchange for offers of treats like takeaway curries and drinks.

But after an almost four-month trial, a jury at London's Southwark Crown Court cleared five of the six men.

Noel Cryan, 49, of Chislehurst, Kent; Danny Wilkinson, 48, of Hornchurch, Essex; Colin Goodman, 53, of Epsom, Surrey; James Gilmour, 50 of Benfleet, Essex; and Terry Farr, 44, of Southend-on-Sea in Essex - have all been cleared of conspiracy to defraud by trying to manipulate the Libor rate linked to the Yen.

Darrell Read, 50, of Wellington, New Zealand was cleared of one count but the jury has been asked to continue deliberations on Thursday morning in relation to another count.

The men had been accused of helping trader Tom Hayes manipulate the Libor rate over a period of four years.

Hayes, who was convicted of conspiracy to defraud earlier this year, repeatedly asked them via instant messages and emails for help getting the Libor rates set in his favour, the court had heard.

A statement released by solicitors acting for Mr Goodman, who the trial heard had been known as Lord Libor, said: " We can only reiterate what his counsel told the jury, that the SFO case was a complete shambles and should never have been brought."

Matthew Frankland, the solicitor for Mr Wilkinson, said the evidence of one witness "was likened to consulting a clairvoyant", and said most of those prosecuted in Libor cases "are relatively junior within the different organisations, with more senior people not being held to account".

Mr Farr's legal representative Katie Wheatley, said he was relieved to have been acquitted after "years of gruelling proceedings".

But the director of the SFO, David Green, defended bringing the case.

He said: "The key issue in this trial was whether these defendants were party to a dishonest agreement with Tom Hayes. By their verdicts the jury have said that they could not be sure that this was the case.

"Nobody could sensibly suggest that these charges should not have been brought and considered by a jury."

The brokerage firms that employed four of the men declined to comment on the verdict.

A spokesperson for Tullett Prebon, who employed Mr Cryan, said: "We note the jury's findings that Mr Cryan is not guilty of conspiracy to defraud in connection with the manipulation of Libor and have nothing further to add."

Icap, who employed Mr Read, Mr Goodman and Mr Wilkinson, refused to comment as they have done throughout the trial.

Libor is the term for benchmark rates which underpin hundreds of trillions of pounds of contracts, from mortgages to corporate lending.

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