Two former Rabobank traders are going to prison for their roles in a wide-ranging Libor rate manipulation scandal that has already resulted in some $9 billion in regulatory settlements with financial institutions.
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in New York City on Thursday sentenced Rabobank’s former global head of liquidity and finance Anthony Allen to two years in prison and the bank’s ex-senior trader Anthony Conti to one year.
A federal jury in November found the British citizens guilty of conspiracy and wire fraud charges for participating in a scheme from 2006 to 2011 to manipulate the U.S. dollar and yen Libor rates to benefit Rabobank’s trading positions.
“The offense is too serious,” Rakoff said. “You can’t go around, as in my view Mr. Allen and Mr. Conti did, helping rig one of the most important markets in the world and not pay the price.”
Hundreds of trillions of dollars in short-term interest rates, swaps and other financial products are pegged to Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, a short-term rate financial institutions charge each other for loans that is based on submissions by a panel of banks, according to Reuters.
Allen and Conti were the first defendants to face a U.S. trial following investigations into whether banks submitted artificial rate estimates to bolster profits on trading derivatives tied to Libor.
Rabobank in October 2013 reached a $1 billion deal to resolve related U.S. and European probes. The U.S. Department of Justice charged five other Rabobank employees, three of whom pleaded guilty.
Rakoff also criticized the U.S. government for failing to prosecute individuals from large financial institutions in connection with the 2008 financial crisis, according to the Washington Post.
Instead of punishing individuals as a way to deter other bankers from misconduct, the U.S. government instead decided it was better off “extracting money from corporate parents, usually at the cost to their innocent shareholders,” the judge said.
While Allen denies wrongdoing, he told Rakoff he wished he had told others to stop, adding, “I will live that regret the rest of my life.”