Libor rigging

Ex-UBS trader loses bid to have case dismissed

NEW YORK • A former UBS trader charged as part of a United States probe into Libor rate manipulation has lost a bid to have the case dismissed, with the court ruling that a fugitive from US justice has no right to mount a legal challenge.

The decision came hours after Tom Hayes, Darin's co-defendant, was sentenced in a related case in London to 14 years in prison after being found guilty of conspiring to rig Libor benchmark interest rates.

Judge Paul Crotty said Roger Darin, a Swiss citizen who has previously worked in Singapore, was "flouting judicial process" by remaining in his home country to avoid arrest, while sending lawyers to ask the judge to dismiss the case.

Darin's lawyers argued he was not a fugitive as he had never fled, let alone appeared, in the United States since the US Justice Department filed its criminal complaint in 2012. But Mr Crotty said his ruling was in line with "the realities of modern criminal prosecutions".

The British case was the first to reach trial in a global inquiry that has led to several people being charged, and some of the world's most powerful banks and brokerage houses paying around US$9 billion (S$12.4 billion) in regulatory settlements.

Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, is a short-term rate that underpins trillions of dollars worth of financial products, from mortgages to credit card loans.

According to the US authorities, Darin - who while at UBS worked in Singapore, Tokyo and Zurich - was primarily focused on trading yen-dominated, short-term interest rate derivative products.

The complaint said that he conspired with Hayes to commit wire fraud by agreeing to submit yen Libor opinions to benefit Hayes' positions.

Darin has never appeared in a US court and Switzerland does not extradite its citizens. A federal magistrate judge in March recommended rejecting Darin's arguments.

A Japanese subsidiary of UBS in 2012 pleaded guilty to wire fraud as part of a US$1.5 billion accord resolving US, British and Swiss probes. In resolving a similar investigation into the rigging of currency markets, UBS itself pleaded guilty in May and agreed to pay a penalty of US$203 million for breaching a non-prosecution agreement over manipulation of Libor.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2015, with the headline 'Ex-UBS trader loses bid to have case dismissed'. Print Edition | Subscribe