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Deutsche Bank trader jailed for five years for rigging lending rates

Christian Bittar estimated to have dishonestly made £2.5m on top of already huge salary
Thu 19 Jul 2018 15.24 EDT

A former “world-class trader” has been jailed for more than five years after helping to rig a vital banking benchmark.

Ex-Deutsche Bank trader Christian Bittar was part of a wider conspiracy to dishonestly manipulate Euribor lending rates. The 46-year-old played a leading role in the four-year fraud and his personal profit was estimated to be around £2.5m.

He was sentenced to five years and four months’ imprisonment at Southwark crown court on Thursday after pleading guilty in March. Former Barclays trader Philippe Moryoussef, 50, was sentenced in his absence to eight years’ imprisonment, having fled to his native France before being convicted at trial.

Judge Michael Gledhill said Bittar was not motivated by “greed alone” but also the “satisfaction of being able to beat the system”. He told the court that it was “beyond irony” that Bittar, who earned nearly £60m during the indictment period – most of it legitimately – needed to resort to dishonest manipulation.

“Derivatives trading is often said to be a form of betting,” he said. “You took the analogy one step further, by loading the dice.”

He was regarded as a world-class trader who earned “staggering” sums of up to £47m a year, the judge said. Bittar was ordered to pay around £800,000 in costs and the judge made a confiscation order for £2.5m.

“You were not remotely concerned about the consequences of your actions, either to the counter parties to your trades who lost when you succeeded, or to the risk of undermining of confidence in Euribor,” the judge added.

He said the sentence should “send a clear message of deterrence to others working in the world of banking and finance that those convicted of dishonestly manipulating interest rates will face lengthy custodial sentences”. Bittar and Moryoussef were both convicted of conspiracy to defraud between January 2005 and December 2009.

Along with others, they manipulated the process used to set the rates in a bid to boost their employers’ profits and their own pay and bonuses. Bittar’s lawyer Alexander Cameron said he was described in character references as a man of “humility, modesty, integrity, loyalty, charity” and a “dedicated” father to his three children.

“He will never again be able to work in the job at which he legitimately excelled,” he added.
Carlo Palombo, 39, Colin Bermingham, 61, and Sisse Bohart, 41, will face a retrial in January after the jury failed to reach verdicts on their charges.

https://amp.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/19/deutsche-bank-trader-jailed-for-five-years-for-rigging-lending-rates




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