Barclays Libor
From top left, clockwise: Eric Bommensath, Alex Pabon, Ryan Reich, Jonathan Mathew, Mike Bagguley, Stylianos Contogoulas, Jay Merchant, Harry Harrison Reuters, Getty Images

Four former Barclays traders have been handed out prison terms totalling over 20 years after being found guilty of Libor interest rate rigging between 2005 and 2007.

Former New York-based trader Jay Merchant, 45 was given a six-and-a-half year sentence on Thursday (7 July) after mitigation, with presiding judge Anthony Leonard ruling that he bore the "greatest responsibility for what happened" and "abused a position of power and authority."

Merchant joined Barclays in 2002 and was assigned to the short-end book, before the euro desk and then on the dollar desk in New York.

It was alleged in court that he took young and inexperienced traders under his wing and introduced them to a scheme aimed at rate rigging. Merchant was also the highest paid of all the defendants, making $2.9 (£2.2mn) in 2007.

Peter Johnson, 61, who pleaded guilty, was given a four year sentence, while Libor-submitter Jonathan Mathew, 35 was also given a four year sentence. A fourth trader – Alex Pabon, 38 – was given two years and nine months.

On Wednesday (6 July), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said it is seeking a retrial of two other former Barclays traders – Ryan Reich, 34 and Stylianos Contogoulas, 44 – in the case of whom the jury was unable to reach a verdict on Monday. Both men denied any wrongdoing.

The SFO now has two weeks in which to make an application for a retrial. Libor, or London inter-bank offered rate, is used by banks to set prices of financial products. At least $350 trillion in derivatives and other financial products are tied to the Libor.

It serves as a benchmark for loans and financial contracts for households and companies across the world.