In the room number six of the court of Southwark, London, the box to the walls of armored glass seemed to be empty, this Wednesday, April 11, at the trial of the manipulation of Euribor, a benchmark interest rate. Only four of the eleven persons indicted at the beginning of the procedure, in 2012, are present. Four German and two French, have refused to move, believing that the facts were stipulated, or that they did not constitute an offence in their country. A third French, regarded by the prosecution as the central character of the fraud, has, on the contrary, pleaded guilty at the last moment, at the beginning of march, in a coup de theatre that has puzzled the audience. Those that remain appear as second knives of the case : Achim Kraemer, who worked for Deutsche Bank, and Carlo Palombo, Colin Bermingham and Sisse Bohart, who were at Barclays.
It is a very curious trial which opened on Monday. As for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the british equivalent of the Parquet national financier in France, the scandal of the Euribor is one of the most important financial fraud to date. According to James Waddington, a lawyer for the SFO, a group of bankers has ” manipulated the financial system to rip off many people “. The “main players” : two French, Christian Bittar, a former trader star of Deutsche Bank, and his “old friend” Philippe Moryoussef, a former trader at Barclays.
On the side of the bankers accused, the lawyer for Mr Moryoussef, Me François de Castro, denounces, on the contrary, ” serious violations and reiterated the principles of a fair trial “. According to him, the british courts approach this matter in a biased way, including refusing the testimony of the key creators of the Euribor, that the two frenchmen wanted to use.
Strangely, the facts, which lie between 2005 and 2009, are hardly disputed. But the bankers…