WASHINGTON Feb 26 Mythili Raman, the top
criminal prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice, is
planning to leave the agency next month, wrapping up a year
overseeing high-profile investigations into global market
Raman said in an interview this week that the agency has
made great strides in holding individuals accountable for
corporate misdeeds. She said she is hopeful more traders will
face trial in the United States for their roles in international
The 17-year Justice Department veteran served for a year as
the acting chief after her predecessor, Lanny Breuer, left the
agency last year.
"We have a lot to be proud of," Raman said, referring the
department's probe into the manipulation of foreign exchange
rates and a related investigation into the manipulation of the
London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) interest rate benchmark
that led to charges against six people in the past year.
She said she is hopeful that the Libor defendants, currently
all overseas, will see the inside of a U.S. courtroom.
She said her division has worked to improve relationships
with foreign counterparts conducting related investigations, a
move that could ease the way for the defendants to be extradited
to the United States.
Raman said she has not yet decided what her next career move
will be but that she anticipates returning to the agency down
the line. Most of her predecessors have gone to private
practice, where they defend white-collar criminal cases.
A Senate panel on Thursday is scheduled to consider
President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Breuer, Leslie
Caldwell, a former federal prosecutor who helped build the case
against Enron Corp. The nomination is likely to be confirmed,
but the timing of a full Senate vote is unclear.
MOMENTUM FOR LIBOR PROBES
The sprawling Libor investigation, which stretches from
North America to Asia and has shaken the financial industry, has
so far resulted in 10 banks and brokerages being fined a total
of $6 billion and charges brought against 13 people.
Authorities have begun looking at whether traders at some of
those banks had advance knowledge of customer orders and tried
to manipulate benchmark foreign-exchange rates used to set the
value of trillions of dollars of investments. Twenty traders
have been fired, suspended or put on leave as part of those
"We've had prosecutors go full bore on these cases, and
(leadership) willing to push," Raman said. "We've shown there is
Since Raman took over as acting head of the Justice
Department's criminal division, she has announced charges
against three former traders at Dutch lender Rabobank
accused of manipulating the Yen Libor benchmark, three former
brokers at the brokerage firm ICAP over similar
allegations, and a deferred prosecution agreement with Rabobank
under which the bank admitted wrongdoing and agreed to pay a
$325 million criminal penalty.
She also has overseen the prosecution of more than 10 people
charged with violating a foreign bribery law, including some
cases that Raman said remain under seal.
Raman said she thinks U.S. prosecutors have built up trust
with their UK counterparts, after a series of stumbles.
That relationship hit a low at the end of 2012, when the UK
Serious Fraud Office (SFO) arrested former UBS trader
Thomas Hayes, surprising U.S. prosecutors who were preparing to
charge him for his alleged role in the Libor manipulation
Tensions appeared to re-emerge last week, when the UK office
charged three former Barclays traders over Libor
rigging, including one who had been given immunity by the
Raman said the UK's action should not be read as a setback
for the countries' relations.
"In absolute reality, the relationship with the SFO has been
incredibly productive in the last eight or nine months," Raman
said. "We hit the reset button."
"That doesn't mean we are going to defer to each other, but
we are coordinating. We trust the partnership," she added.
The collaboration doesn't mean they won't charge the same
defendants, but it means they set rules for sharing information,
make sure they are not sending duplicate requests to defendants,
and are on the phone with each other a lot, Raman said.
After she leaves the agency on March 20, Raman is looking
forward to her first trip in years where she can leave her
Blackberry behind and enjoy a vacation with her husband and
"We're going to Disney World," she said.