Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Ex-Brit banker faces more rates-rigging charges

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

New Zealand resident and former British banker Darrell Read is to face further criminal proceedings from the United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office for his part in an alleged international rates rigging scheme.

Read, who is believed to have moved to Wellington from the UK in June 2007, already faces wire fraud charges laid by United States prosecutors and formerly worked for London firm ICAP brokering interest rate derivatives trades.

According to the FBI, Read allegedly was part of a conspiracy between 2006 and 2010 to manipulate the Yen Libor, the rate determining the profitability of his most important client's trades.

Libor - which stands for London interbank offered rate - is firmly woven into the fabric of the world's capital markets. From major international financing deals through to everyday home mortgages, Libor is a key plank in the relationship between borrowers and lenders globally.

The rate sets the scene for banks, international financiers, mortgage lenders, credit card companies or anyone wanting to raise funds through the interest rate markets.

Financial instruments worth hundreds of trillions of dollars are tied to Libor the world over.

A British banking trade group sets the Libor every morning after international banks submit estimates of what it costs them to borrow.

US prosecutors laid charges against Read and two of his colleagues last year and now the New Zealand resident is also facing criminal proceedings in the United Kingdom in connection with the manipulation of Libor.

The UK Serious Fraud Office recently announced its own case against Read and his co-accused in the US action.

The SFO alleges the men "conspired to defraud between 6 August 2006 and 7 September 2010".

"These criminal proceedings have commenced in writing...with the first appearance and the charges expected to be read out at the Westminister Magistrates' Court on 15 April 2014," the UK SFO said last week.

- NZ Herald

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