(Adds details from court hearing)
NEW YORK, March 10 (Reuters) - Two former Rabobank traders were sentenced to prison on Thursday after being convicted in the first U.S. trial arising from global investigations into the manipulation of Libor, the leading benchmark for pricing financial transactions.
Anthony Allen, Rabobank’s former global head of liquidity and finance, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in New York to two years in prison. Anthony Conti, an ex-senior trader, was sentenced to one year in prison.
A federal jury in November found the British citizens guilty on conspiracy and wire fraud charges for participating in a scheme from 2006 to 2011 to manipulate the U.S. dollar and yen Libor rates to benefit Rabobank’s trading positions.
“The offense is too serious,” Rakoff said. “You can’t go around, as in my view Mr. Allen and Mr conti did, helping rig one of the most important markets in the world and not pay the price.”
Allen, 44, and Conti, 46, deny wrongdoing, and will remain free on bail pending appeals.
Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, is a short-term rate financial institutions charge each other for loans that is calculated based on submissions by a panel of banks.
Hundreds of trillions of dollars in short-term interest rates, swaps and other financial products are pegged to Libor.
Allen and Conti were the first defendants to face a U.S. trial following investigations into whether banks submitted artificial rate estimates to bolster profits on trading derivatives tied to Libor.
Those investigations resulted in U.S. and U.K. charges against 32 people and around $9 billion in regulatory settlements with financial institutions.
Rabobank in October 2013 reached a $1 billion deal to resolve related U.S. and European probes. The U.S. Department of Justice charged five other Rabobank employees, three of whom pleaded guilty.
While Allen denies wrongdoing, he told Rakoff he wished he told others to stop, adding: “I will live that regret the rest of my life.”
The only other person to be sentenced is Tom Hayes, a former UBS AG and Citigroup Inc trader serving an 11-year sentence after being convicted in a London trial in August involving yen Libor manipulation.
A second U.K. trial stemming from the probes ended with six former brokers being acquitted in January of conspiring with Hayes to manipulate interest rates.
Brian Young, a Justice Department prosecutor, said authorities may charge more individuals.
“This is not the end of the story,” he said.
The case is U.S. v. Allen, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-cr-272.
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