April 13, 2015 / 6:46 PM / 5 years ago

Ex-Rabobank trader charged by U.S. for Libor scheme pleads not guilty

NEW YORK, April 13 (Reuters) - A British former trader at Rabobank pleaded not guilty on Monday to U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to manipulate Libor, the benchmark interest rate at the center of wide-ranging global probes into misconduct at major banks.

Anthony Conti, a onetime senior trader at the Dutch lender based in London and Utrecht, Netherlands, became the second defendant to waive extradition and appear in Manhattan federal court to fight U.S. charges over Libor manipulation.

Conti, 46, will be released on a $500,000 bond. He will face a jury trial on Oct. 5 alongside another ex-Rabobank employee, Anthony Allen, a U.K. citizen who was the bank’s former global head of liquidity and finance.

Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, is a short-term rate banks charge each other for loans that is calculated based on submissions by a panel of banks. The rate underpins hundreds of trillions of dollars of financial products globally from mortgages to credit card loans.

U.S. and European authorities have been probing whether banks attempted to manipulate the rate to benefit their own trading positions.

The investigations have resulted in over $6 billion in settlements with banks and brokerages and several people being charged, including 12 in the United States.

Deutsche Bank AG could resolve U.S. and British investigations as early as this month in a settlement that is likely to exceed $1.5 billion, Reuters reported on Friday citing sources familiar with the matter.

Conti was indicted in October for conspiracy and wire fraud, becoming one of seven Rabobank employees to face U.S. charges over Libor manipulation. Three employees have pleaded guilty, while two others have not appeared in U.S. court.

Rabobank agreed in 2013 to pay $1 billion to resolve U.S. and European Libor-related probes, including $325 million as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department.

Prosecutors say Conti, as Rabobank’s primary U.S. Libor submitter and back-up Yen Libor submitter, was involved in a system Allen set up that allowed traders who made bets tied to Libor dictate the bank’s submissions on the rate.

Allen, like Conti, has pleaded not guilty and is free on bail pending trial.

The case is U.S. v. Robson, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-cr-00272. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York)

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