March 20, 2015 / 8:24 PM / in 2 years

Ex-Rabobank trader pleads not guilty in U.S. case over Libor

Anthony Allen, a British citizen who was Rabobank's former global head of liquidity and finance, exits the U.S. Federal Courthouse in the Manhattan borough of New York, March 20, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former trader at Dutch lender Rabobank [RABO.UL] pleaded not guilty on Friday to U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to manipulate Libor, the benchmark interest rate at the center of global investigations into misconduct at various banks.

Anthony Allen, a British citizen and former global head of liquidity and finance at Rabobank, entered his plea in federal court in Manhattan, becoming the first defendant to waive extradition to fight U.S. charges over Libor manipulation.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff set trial for Oct. 5. Another ex-Rabobank employee, Anthony Conti, could join Allen for trial after Conti’s lawyer said he was preparing to also waive extradition from England.

Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, is a key short-term rate that banks charge each other for loans. The rate underpins hundreds of trillions of dollars of financial products from mortgages to credit card loans worldwide.

U.S. and European authorities have been probing whether banks attempted to manipulate the rate to benefit their own trading positions.

The probe has resulted in over $6 billion in settlements with banks and brokerages and several people being charged, including 11 in the United States.

Allen’s court appearance came after a U.S. judge on Friday rejected a bid by former UBS AG UBSN.S trader Roger Darin to dismiss similar charges that he conspired to manipulate the yen Libor rate.

Unlike Allen, Darin, a Swiss citizen, has not appeared in court. Switzerland does not extradite its citizens. His lawyer declined to comment.

Allen, 43, was indicted in October for conspiracy and wire fraud, becoming one of six former Rabobank employees to be charged in the United States over Libor manipulation.

Rabobank agreed in 2013 to pay $1 billion to resolve U.S. and European Libor-related probes, including $325 million as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department.

Prosecutors say Allen participated in a scheme to manipulate the U.S. dollar and yen Libor rates to benefit Rabobank’s positions in derivatives linked to those benchmarks.

U.S. prosecutors last year secured guilty pleas from Paul Robson, a former Rabobank Libor submitter, and Takayuki Yagami, a former trader.

The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority on Tuesday banned Robson from Britain’s financial services industry.

Three other ex-Rabobank employees face charges including Conti, a Libor submitter. Tor Ekeland, his lawyer, at Friday’s hearing said Conti planned to waive extradition and appear in court April 13.

The case is U.S. v. Robson, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-cr-00272.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Diane Craft, Alan Crosby and Leslie Adler

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