Brevan Howard trader linked to Libor probe leaves hedge fund

ZURICH, June 27 Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:32am EDT

ZURICH, June 27 (Reuters) - A trader allegedly connected to a global rate-rigging scandal has left hedge fund Brevan Howard, the company said on Thursday.

Chris Cecere, who joined Brevan Howard's Geneva office in 2010 from Citigroup Inc., has left the hedge fund for undisclosed personal reasons, spokesman Max Hilton said.

Japanese regulators in 2011 found two Citigroup employees were involved in attempted manipulation of the yen-denominated Libor rate. It did not identify the traders but sources familiar with the situation named one of them as Cecere.

In an interview with Reuters last year, Cecere said he left Citigroup voluntarily with full bonus and that he had not been questioned by regulators. On Thursday, Cecere couldn't immediately be reached by Reuters for comment.

The probe into how traders rigged crucial benchmark rates such as Libor - the London interbank offered rate, against which trillions of dollars of loans are priced - has sparked public and political outrage and laid bare the failings of regulators and bank bosses.

To date, British and U.S. regulators have fined three banks including UBS a total of $2.6 billion and prosecutors and police have charged two men, including former UBS and Citigroup trader Tom Hayes.

Hayes has been charged by British prosecutors with eight counts of conspiracy to defraud, laying the groundwork for what could be the first Libor trial.

The agency that sets rules for global banks, the Financial Stability Board, said it would establish a task force to look at reform of Libor following the scandal.

Brevan Howard, one of the largest hedge funds in the world, has been left nursing big losses across some of its portfolios this month amid a sell-off in bonds and currencies.

A number of traders, including the lead manager of its currencies fund, Luke Ding, have left the firm because of poor performance, a source with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month. Brevan employs around 80 traders, mainly from its London and Geneva offices.