Libor Fixing Scandal: 'Vast Amount' of Evidence Stacks Up Against 3 ex-Barclays Traders (L-R) Jonathan Mathew, Peter Johnson, and Stylianos Contogoulas
Libor Fixing Scandal: 'Vast Amount' of Evidence Stacks Up Against 3 ex-Barclays Traders (L-R) Jonathan Mathew, Peter Johnson, and Stylianos ContogoulasReuters

Britain's Serious Fraud Office has claimed that it has "vast amounts" of evidence against three former Barclays traders which are charged with trying to manipulate one of the world's most important interbank lending rates – Libor.

According to one of the SFO's prosecutors, James Hines, at a hearing at Southwark Crown Court, the finance crime watchdog has reams of email evidence that show Peter Johnson, 59, Jonathan Mathew, 33, and Stylianos Contogoulas, 42, conspired to rig rates for personal economic gain.

The SFO charged Johnson, Mathew, and Contogoulas, with conspiracy to defraud the markets between 1 June 2005 and 31 August 2007 by manipulating benchmark interbank lending rates.

They were bailed on 17 February but Contogoulas, as a Greek national and resident, was ordered to pay a security of £40,000.

On 6 July 2012, the SFO announced that it had decided to accept the Libor case for investigation after Barclays was the first to settle with UK and US authorities the previous month for £290m (€341m, $448m) for try to rig Libor.

The three former traders are expected to appear in court towards the end of July this year.

What is Libor?

Libor valuations directly influence the value of trillions of dollars of financial deals between banks and other institutions.

The benchmark reference rates are used in euro, US dollar and British sterling over-the-counter (OTC) interest rate derivatives contracts and exchange traded interest rate contracts.

This court case brings the total number of individuals being charged for Libor fixing allegations to 13 after a raft of banks paid billions of pounds in fines for their part in the scandal.

Former UBS and Citigroup trader Tom Hayes and two former RP Martin brokers Terry Farr and James Gilmour appeared at a plea hearing on 17 December 2013 in the UK and pleaded not guilty.

The three were the first to face trial under the SFO's probe into Libor manipulation since the scandal broke out in 2012.

Hayes is due to stand trial in January 2015 while Farr and Gilmour will following in a separate trail in September later that year.

Hayes is charged with eight counts of conspiring with staff from at least 10 banks and brokerages to manipulate yen Libor rates between 2006 and 2010.