February 7, 2017 / 10:39 AM / 3 years ago

Six traders plead not guilty in UK in first Euribor rigging case

LONDON (Reuters) - Six traders pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges they tried to rig global interest rates in the first prosecution to focus on Euribor, the Brussels-based equivalent of Libor.

The five men and one woman who appeared at London’s Southwark Crown Court included Christian Bittar, 45, who was once one of Deutsche Bank’s (DBKGn.DE) most profitable traders, and former senior Barclays (BARC.L) trader Philippe Moryoussef, 48. Both are French and now based in Singapore.

Achim Kraemer, a 52 year-old German still employed by Deutsche, and former Barclays traders Colin Bermingham, a 60-year-old Briton, Anglo-Italian Carlo Palombo, 38, and Sisse Bohart, a 39-year-old Dane, are also facing charges.

They were all charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud between January 2005 and December 2009 by making or procuring false or misleading Euribor rates to boost trading profits. The offense carries a maximum 10-year jail term.

Their trial has been scheduled to begin on September 4.

The first rate-fixing prosecution to focus on Euribor was delayed last year when five of 11 traders Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) planned to charge did not appear at a London court hearing. Four remain in Germany and one in France.

Authorities have fined 11 financial institutions around $9.0 billion and charged about 30 people in a global inquiry into how banks set rates such as Libor (London interbank offered rate) and Euribor (euro interbank offered rate), which determine the rates on trillions of loans and financial contracts globally.

($1 = 0.9255 euros)

Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Keith Weir

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