By Aruna Viswanatha
WASHINGTON Jan 13 Three former traders at Dutch
lender Rabobank were criminally charged on Monday with
manipulating the Yen Libor benchmark interest rate, the U.S.
Department of Justice said.
Two former Japanese Yen derivatives traders and a third
trader responsible for setting the bank's Yen Libor rate were
accused of submitting fraudulent rates in order to benefit their
trading positions, the Justice Department said.
In October, Rabobank paid $1 billion to resolve U.S. and
European probes into rate-rigging allegations, making it the
fifth bank punished in the scandal that has swept the industry.
A federal judge in New York signed a criminal complaint
charging Paul Robson, a senior trader in London; Paul Thompson,
who ran a trading desk in Singapore; and Tetsuya Motomura, a
senior trader and supervisor on the bank's Tokyo desk, the
department said. Charges included wire fraud and conspiracy to
commit wire fraud, it said.
Robson, Thompson, and Motomura could not be immediately
reached for comment.
The Libor rates that oil the wheels of global finance are an
average rate at which a panel of banks say they could borrow
money. The manipulation of related benchmarks has resulted in
$3.7 billion in fines to date.
"The illegal manipulation of this cornerstone benchmark rate
undermines the integrity of the markets; it harms those who are
relying on what they expect to be an honest benchmark; and it
has ripple effects that extend far beyond the trading at issue
here," said Mythili Raman, who is acting head of the Justice
Department's criminal division.
The Justice Department describes the three working with each
other and other traders to move the rate between 2006 and 2011.
When one trader asks Robson in a September 2007 email for a
higher Yen rate, Robson replies: "sure no prob ... I'll probably
get a few phone calls but no worries mate ... there's bigger
crooks in the market than us guys!"
At times Robson describes the skewed submission as
"embarrassing," "ridiculously high" and "obscenely high," the
Justice Department said.
U.S. criminal prosecutors have previously charged five other
traders or brokers over similar conduct, but all remain
The defendants could face up to 30 years in prison, but it
is unclear if prosecutors will be able to bring them to the
United States to face the charges.