Exclusive: Fired Barclays trader draws scrutiny in Libor probe
By Jennifer Ablan, Matthew Goldstein, Carrick Mollenkamp
(Reuters) - A 30-year-old former Barclays Plc swaps trader in New York, who was fired from the bank in 2010, is among those drawing scrutiny from prosecutors in the deepening scandal over the manipulation of global benchmark interest rates.
U.S. prosecutors in Washington, D.C. are looking at Ryan Reich's activities while at Barclays between August 2006 and March 2010, said several people familiar with the situation, who declined to be identified because the bid-rigging investigation is ongoing.
Reich, now a portfolio manager with New York-based hedge fund WCG Management, was dismissed from Barclays for allegedly sending inappropriate emails seeking internal bank information, according to two sources familiar with the situation.
One of those sources, who used to work for the bank, said the information Reich sought concerned how the Libor benchmark rate was going to be priced, information that could have been useful for his trading positions.
Reached by telephone on Friday, Reich declined to comment. A spokeswoman at the U.S. Department of Justice did not return phone calls or emails seeking comment.
Libor, the London interbank offered rate, is used to set rates on trillions of dollars of contracts for everything from home mortgages to credit cards. The investigation has embroiled banks on both sides of the Atlantic and involves yen and euro rates as well as those for the dollar.
Lawyers familiar with the investigation say federal prosecutors continue to reach out to individuals to gauge interest in cooperating or taking pleas. They said prosecutors are expected to begin making decisions on charging individuals late this month or in early September.
Indeed, many of the traders under scrutiny do not believe they did anything wrong because their employers and regulators had some awareness of their activities, the lawyers said. Information released by the New York Fed shows that bank regulators in the United States and Europe knew some banks were submitting low Libor bids during the financial crisis to make institutions appear healthier than they were. Continued...