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Ex-Deutsche Bank traders found guilty in U.S. of Libor scheme

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By Reuters

By Brendan Pierson

NEWYORK (Reuters) – Two former Deutsche Bank AG <DBKGn.DE> traders were found guilty by a New York jury on Wednesday of engaging in a scheme to manipulate the Libor benchmark interest rate between 2005 and 2011.

Matthew Connolly, who once led Deutsche Bank’s pool trading desk in New York, and Gavin Campbell Black, who worked on the bank’s London desk, were convicted of wire fraud and conspiracy following a trial in federal court in Manhattan.

Connolly was convicted of three of the six counts against him but acquitted on the other three, while Black was convicted of both of the two counts against him.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon, who presided over the case, said she would not set a sentencing date until after she had considered motions by the defendants challenging the verdict.

“This isn’t over,” said Connolly’s lawyer, Ken Breen. “We will pursue our post-trial challenges until we get to exoneration. Matt Connolly is innocent.”

“While we are disappointed by today’s verdict, we will be making a number of post-trial motions and will continue to seek justice for Gavin Black,” said Seth Levine, Black’s lawyer.

Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, underpins trillions of dollars of financial products and is based on what banks say they believe they would pay if they borrowed from other banks.

Investigations into whether banks manipulated Libor have led to billions of dollars in global settlements with financial institutions and U.S. and UK cases against several people. Two former Rabobank traders were found guilty in federal court in Manhattan and sentenced to prison, but their convictions were thrown out by an appeals court last year.

Connolly was the first U.S. citizen charged in connection with Libor rigging. He and Black were indicted in June 2016. U.S. prosecutors said that from 2005 to about 2011, they and others conspired to submit false estimates for some U.S. dollar Libor rates in order to manipulate the rate for their own gain.

Traders used electronic messaging to swap requests for Libor rates that would benefit their own positions, rather than basing it on an objective assessment of interbank lending rates, prosecutors said.

The indictment came after two other traders at Deutsche Bank, Michael Curtler of London and Timothy Parietti of New York, pleaded guilty to related charges in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Deutsche Bank agreed in April 2015 to pay $2.5 billion to resolve U.S. and UK investigations into Libor rigging.

(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Susan Thomas and Jonathan Oatis)