Two ex-traders jailed in Euribor rigging case

London (AFP) –


A British court on Thursday handed down jail terms to two former traders for their roles in rigging the Euribor lending rate, a key benchmark in financial markets.

Christian Bittar, formerly at Deutsche Bank, played a leading role in the fraud and made an estimated £2.5 million (2.8 million euros, $3.2 million) out of it.

The 46-year-old was sentenced to five years and four months in prison.

Former Barclays trader Philippe Moryoussef, 50, was sentenced in his absence to eight years in prison.

Moryoussef fled to his native France before being convicted.

The two were convicted of conspiracy to defraud between 2005 and 2009 for manipulating the process used to set the Euribor, the euro interbank benchmark rate.

Judge Michael Gledhill said Bittar was not motivated by "greed alone" but also the "satisfaction of being able to beat the system".

"It is beyond irony that you were legitimately earning huge sums and there was no obvious need to resort to dishonest manipulation," he said.

Bittar was ordered to pay around £3.3 million in costs and compensation.

Several banks have already had to pay hefty fines over Euribor-rigging in Britain and the United States, and the European Union has tightened legislation against market manipulation.