UK bans first trader over Libor rigging fter US conviction

A former trader at Dutch lender Rabobank has become the first trader banned from the British financial services industry over Libor interest rate rigging after he was convicted of fraud in the United States.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said on Tuesday that Paul Robson, who last year pleaded guilty to being part of a conspiracy to manipulate Rabobank's yen-denominated Libor benchmark rate submissions, lacked honesty and integrity.

The exterior of the headquarters of Dutch co-operative bank Rabobank in Utrecht.
Lex Van Lieshout | AFP | Getty Images
The exterior of the headquarters of Dutch co-operative bank Rabobank in Utrecht.

The ban is the FCA's first public action against a trader for rigging Libor (London interbank offered rate), a benchmark against which around $450 trillion of financial products from mortgages to credit card loans are pegged worldwide. Libor rates have been at the centre of a global investigation.

The FCA, which has so far issued 14 warning notices about possible enforcement action against individuals relating to interest rate benchmarks, has also fined and banned two senior executives for Libor compliance failures.

"No excuse can be made for Mr Robson's behavior, which was particularly serious," said Georgina Philippou, the FCA's acting head of enforcement and market oversight. "He knew what he was doing was wrong.

"This ban reinforces our expectation that individuals and firms take responsibility for ensuring market integrity and reminds them of the consequences if they fall short of our standards."

Robson, who was sent a warning notice by the FCA on Nov. 28, 2013, will be sentenced in the United States in 2017 as criminal investigations continue worldwide.

Britain's leading fraud prosecutor, the Serious Fraud Office, has charged 13 people with criminal offences as part of its Libor investigation.