LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays has been told by a High Court judge to hand over documents, emails and other details of 42 staff involved in the setting of interest rates, as part of Britain’s first lawsuit linked to alleged Libor manipulation.
The British bank was also told the names of the staff would not be kept secret, which Barclays had requested, Judge Julian Flaux said.
Barclays, which was fined $450 million in June by U.S. and UK authorities after admitting to rigging Libor interbank lending rates, will also have to submit minutes of board meetings, audio files and seating plans.
“The directions given today are consistent with Barclays’ proposal to the court to manage disclosure in these proceedings in an effective and proportionate manner,” Barclays said in a statement.
Guardian Care Homes, a residential care home operator based in Wolverhampton, is suing Barclays for up to 37 million pounds ($58.6 million) over the alleged mis-selling of interest rate hedging products, which were based on Libor rates.
In what is seen as a test case for interest rate swaps mis-selling, the case is also set to shine a light on people involved in the bank’s manipulation of Libor and how the rate-setting process was conducted.
Barclays is the only bank to have been fined for manipulating Libor, but more than a dozen other banks are being probed and individuals are also under investigation.
In a pre-trial hearing at London’s High Court, Flaux rejected its request to keep the names of staff anonymous.
UK or U.S. regulators, law enforcement agencies or individuals have two weeks to ask him to keep identities secret, otherwise the names will be released during court proceedings. The case is expected to go to court in October 2013 or later.
“The Judge has ordered that the identities of the individuals determined as relevant to the disclosure requirements in these proceedings should remain confidential pending any application to the court on these issues,” Barclays added in its statement.
Regulators did not reveal the identity of traders and other people involved in the Libor manipulation when they fined the bank.
The 42 staff were part of a list of 207 people who were included in documents or emails that were part of the regulatory investigation into Barclays’ manipulation of Libor.
Barclays handed the names of 25 people to the claimant, but argued most of the names on the bigger list were not relevant to the case.
The bank must also provide documents related to its Treasury committee, organization charts, human resources documents and correspondence with its lawyers, the judge said.
Barclays has had a torrid five months after being given the record fine on Libor - which prompted the resignation of its chairman and chief executive - and is under investigation on several other issues.
Guardian Care Homes, which operates 27 homes providing care for 1,000 elderly or vulnerable patients, says it lost 12 million pounds after being sold two swaps in 2007 and 2008 against two loans it held with the bank that were worth a combined 70 million pounds.
($1=0.6293 British pounds)
Writing by Sinead Cruise, editing by Kirstin Ridley and Mike Nesbit