Jury picked in ex-Rabobank traders' U.S. trial over Libor scheme

Tue Oct 13, 2015 2:27pm EDT
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By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An architect, a train operator and an unemployed magazine copy-editor were picked as jurors on Tuesday in the trial of two former Rabobank [RABO.UL] traders from Britain facing U.S. charges that they engaged in a scheme to manipulate Libor interest rates.

The trial of Anthony Allen, 44, and Anthony Conti, 46, in federal court in Manhattan marks the first in a case by the U.S. Justice Department spilling out of a global investigation into whether various banks sought to manipulate Libor.

Both men have pleaded not guilty to charges including conspiracy and wire fraud stemming from their alleged role in helping manipulate U.S. dollar and yen Libor rates to benefit the Dutch lender's trading positions.

A jury of seven men and five women plus four alternates was picked for the trial, which U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said could last three to four weeks. Opening statements are expected on Wednesday.

Outside the jurors' presence, Rakoff made a series of evidentiary rulings, including prohibiting prosecutors from introducing as evidence Rabobank's $325 million settlement with the Justice Department in 2013 resolving similar allegations.

Rakoff also ruled prosecutors could not elicit testimony from an expert witness that manipulating Libor could impact mortgages and credit card loans, calling it "calculated to invoked sympathy for the government's position."

Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, is a short-term rate banks charge each other for loans that is calculated based on submissions by a panel of banks. It underpins $450 trillion of financial products globally.

U.S. and European authorities have been investigating whether banks fraudulently submitted artificial rate estimates to bolster their profits on trading derivatives linked to Libor.   Continued...

Anthony Conti, a British citizen and former Senior trader with Rabobank, exits federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York, October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly