Libor Fixing and Mis-Selling Derivatives: Former Barclays CEOs Named in Court
By Lianna Brinded | January 25, 2013 12:09 AM EST
Former Barclays chiefs Bob Diamond and John Varley are among more than 100 former bank executives and current employees that applied for anonymity in a High Court trial seeking damages for alleged Libor rate manipulation.
A shortlist of 24 names was made public Thursday after High Court judge Julian Flaux rejected a request for anonymity by 104 current and former Barclays' employees. The bankers had sought to keep their names private after a request to have them given to the legal team for Guardian Care Homes, a British healthcare firm which is suing the bank for allegedly mis-selling it two interest rate derivatives linked to the key interbank lending rate.
Justice Flaux ruled that although the names are linked to the bank's record £290m Libor settlement with US and UK authorities, no one on the list should be assumed to have acted improperly.
"It does not follow that they are people implicated in any wrongdoing - some are and some aren't," he told the Court Thursday.
Other names made public include current chief financial officer Chris Lucas, former chief operating officer Jerry Del Missier and current investment banking boss Rich Ricci.
Earlier this week Justice Flaux rejected the request for anonymity on the basis that he did "not see that there is any sufficient case of prejudice to the trial" and added that anything the bank discloses is still subject to confidentiality under court rules.
The 24 bankers had argued that, as they weren't part of the Guardian Care Homes Ltd (GCH) lawsuit, their names should not be published.
GCH is suing Barclays because it claims the bank mis-sold it two interest rate swap agreements (IRSAs) when it took out loans and finance deals with the bank in 2007 and 2008.
GCH initially filed a £38m ($60m/€45m) complaint against Barclays in April 2012 but amended its claim in June later that year.
The amended claim came just days after Barclays paid a record fine for its role in rigging global interbank lending rates. The value of the IRSAs were linked to Libor.
The GCH suit made Barclays the first bank to be taken to court over Libor fixing-related matters.
A Barclays' spokesperson told IBTimes UK that "this started as an alleged mis-selling case which the bank considers has no merit. The addition of a claim based on what happened with Libor does not change the bank's view. The fact that someone's documents were reviewed by the bank during its review of millions of documents does not mean that such person was involved in any wrongdoing."
IRSAs are contracts between a bank and its customer where typically one side pays a floating, or variable, rate of interest and receives a fixed rate of interest payments in exchange.
They're used to hedge against extreme movements in market interest rates over a given period. Companies that have seen the value of these products move against them as rates fell during the recession, now owe banks crippling sums of money in interest payments each year.
The ongoing case is Graiseley Properties Ltd. & Ors. v. Barclays Bank Plc, High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division Commercial Court (No. 12-1259).
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