Former brokers in UK court on Libor fraud charges

LONDON, July 19 Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:50am EDT

LONDON, July 19 (Reuters) - Two former brokers appeared in a London court on Friday accused of conspiracy to defraud in connection with a global investigation into the Libor interest rate rigging scandal, as prosecutors broaden their inquiry beyond big banks.

Terry Farr and James Gilmour, former staff at UK interbroker dealer RP Martin, who were arrested last December alongside former Citigroup and UBS trader Tom Hayes, are the first brokers to face criminal action.

A central cog in the world financial system, the London interbank offered rate (Libor) is used as a price reference for hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of contracts, ranging from complex derivatives to everyday credit card bills.

Farr, dressed in a dark suit and tie, and Gilmour, dressed in an open neck white shirt, sat in the dock in London's Westminster Magistrates Court and spoke only to confirm their names and addresses and their bail conditions.

The two men, who both live in the southeastern English county of Essex, are charged with conspiracy to defraud with employees at multiple financial institutions including UBS , HSBC, Rabobank, Citi and interdealer broker Tullett Prebon, according to court documents.

Farr is charged with two counts and Gilmour one.

The scandal has sparked public and political outrage and laid bare the failure of authorities and bank bosses to spot the manipulation. So far, regulators have fined Britain's Barclays , Switzerland's UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland a total of $2.6 billion and prosecutors have charged four men.

Hayes, Gilmour and Farr are the first to face court. The fourth suspect, Roger Darin, was charged by U.S. prosecutors last December. He is currently in Switzerland.

Farr, 41, and 48-year-old Gilmour were granted bail until July 30, when their case will be transferred for a hearing to the higher Southwark Crown Court. They gave no indication of how they would plead.