Former Chief Executive Officer of Lufthansa Subsidiary BizJet Pleads Guilty to Foreign Bribery Charges

The former president and chief executive officer of BizJet International Sales and Support Inc., a U.S.-based subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik AG with headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that provides aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul services, pleaded guilty today for his participation in a scheme to pay bribes to foreign government officials.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams Sr., of the Northern District of Oklahoma and Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
“The former CEO of BizJet, Bernd Kowalewski, has become the third and most senior Bizjet executive to plead guilty to bribing officials in Mexico and Panama to get contracts for aircraft services,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “While Kowalewski and his fellow executives referred to the corrupt payments as ‘commissions’ and ‘incentives,’ they were bribes, plain and simple.  Though he was living abroad when the charges were unsealed, the reach of the law extends beyond U.S. borders, resulting in Kowalewski’s arrest in Amsterdam and his appearance in court today in the United States.  Today’s guilty plea is an example of our continued determination to hold corporate executives responsible for criminal wrongdoing whenever the evidence allows.”
“I commend the investigators and prosecutors who worked together across borders and jurisdictions to vigorously enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” said U.S. Attorney Williams.  “Partnership is a necessity in all investigations. By forging and strengthening international partnerships to combat bribery, the Department of Justice is advancing its efforts to prevent crime and to protect citizens.”
Bernd Kowalewski, 57, the former President and CEO of BizJet, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and a substantive violation of the FCPA in connection with a scheme to pay bribes to officials in Mexico and Panama in exchange for those officials’ assistance in securing contracts for BizJet to perform aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul services.
Kowalewski was arrested on a provisional arrest warrant by authorities in Amsterdam on March 13, 2014, and waived extradition on June 20, 2014.    Kowalewski is the third BizJet executive to plead guilty in this case.    Peter DuBois, the former Vice President of Sales and Marketing, pleaded guilty on Jan. 5, 2012, to conspiracy to violate the FCPA and a substantive violation of the FCPA and Neal Uhl, the former Vice President of Finance, pleaded guilty on Jan. 5, 2012, to conspiracy to violate the FCPA.    Jald Jensen, the former sales manager at BizJet, has been indicted for conspiracy as well as substantive FCPA violations and money laundering and is believed to be living abroad.

Charges were unsealed against the four defendants on April 5, 2013.
According to court filings, Kowalewski and his co-conspirators paid bribes directly to foreign officials to secure aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul contracts, and in some instances, the defendants funneled bribes to foreign officials through a shell company owned and operated by Jensen.    The shell company, Avionica International & Associates Inc., operated under the pretense of providing aircraft maintenance brokerage services but in reality laundered money related to BizJet’s bribery scheme.    Bribes were paid to officials employed by the Mexican Policia Federal Preventiva, the Mexican Coordinacion General de Transportes Aereos Presidenciales, the air fleet for the Gobierno del Estado de Sinaloa, the air fleet for the Gobierno del Estado de Sonora and the Republica de Panama Autoridad Aeronautica Civil.
Further according to court filings, the co-conspirators discussed in e-mail correspondence and at corporate meetings the need to pay bribes, which they referred to internally as “commissions” or “incentives,” to officials employed by the foreign government agencies in order to secure the contracts.    At one meeting, for example, in response to a question about who the decision-maker was at a particular customer organization, DuBois stated that a director of maintenance or chief pilot was normally responsible for decisions on where an aircraft went for maintenance work.    Kowalewski then responded by explaining that the directors of maintenance and chief pilots in the past received “commissions” of $3,000 to $5,000 but were now demanding $30,000 to $40,000 in “commissions.” Similarly, in e-mail correspondence between Uhl, DuBois, Kowalewski, and several others, Uhl responded to a question about BizJet’s financial outlook if “incentives” paid to brokers, directors of maintenance, or chief pilots continued to increase industry wide, stating that they would “work to build these fees into the revenue as much as possible.    We must remain competitive in this respect to maintain and gain market share.”
On March 14, 2012, the department announced that it had entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with BizJet, requiring that BizJet pay an $11.8 million monetary penalty to resolve charges related to the corrupt conduct.    That agreement acknowledged BizJet’s voluntary disclosure, extraordinary cooperation, and extensive remediation in this case.    In addition, the department announced on March 14, 2012, that BizJet’s indirect parent company, Lufthansa Technik AG, entered into an agreement with the department in which the department agreed not to prosecute Lufthansa Technik provided that Lufthansa Technik satisfies its obligations under the agreement for a period of three years.
This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office with substantial assistance form the Oklahoma Field Office.    The department has worked closely with its law enforcement counterparts in Amsterdam, Mexico and Panama, and has received significant assistance from Germany and Uruguay.    The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs has also provided assistance.    This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Daniel S. Kahn and Trial Attorney David Fuhr of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Leitch of the Northern District of Oklahoma.

Former Executive of French Power Company Subsidiary Pleads Guilty in Connection with Foreign Bribery Scheme

 

A former senior executive of a subsidiary of Alstom SA, the French power and transportation company, pleaded guilty today for his participation in a scheme to pay bribes to foreign government officials.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Michael J. Gustafson of the District of Connecticut and Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
William Pomponi, a former vice president of regional sales at Alstom Power Inc., the Connecticut-based power subsidiary of Alstom, pleaded guilty today in federal court in New Haven, Connecticut, to a criminal information charging him with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with the awarding of the Tarahan power project in Indonesia.    Pomponi was charged in a second superseding indictment on July 30, 2013.    Pomponi is the fourth defendant to plead guilty to charges stemming from this investigation.    Frederic Pierucci, the vice president of global boiler sales at Alstom, pleaded guilty on July 29, 2013, to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and one count of violating the FCPA; and, David Rothschild, a former vice president of regional sales at Alstom Power Inc., pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the FCPA on Nov. 2, 2012.  Marubeni Corporation, Alstom’s consortium partner on the Tarahan project, pleaded guilty on March 19, 2014, to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and seven counts of violating the FCPA, and was sentenced to pay a criminal fine of $88 million.    FCPA and money laundering charges remain pending against Lawrence Hoskins, the former senior vice president for the Asia region for Alstom, and trial is scheduled for June 2, 2015.
“Three Alstom corporate executives and Marubeni, a major Japanese corporation, have now pleaded guilty to a seven-year scheme to pay bribes to Indonesian officials to secure a $118 million power contract,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “The Criminal Division of the Department of Justice will follow evidence of corruption wherever it leads, including into corporate boardrooms and corner offices.  As this case demonstrates, we will hold both companies and their executives responsible for criminal conduct.”
According to the court filings, the defendants, together with others, paid bribes to officials in Indonesia, including a member of the Indonesian Parliament and high-ranking members of Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), the state-owned and state-controlled electricity company in Indonesia, in exchange for assistance in securing a $118 million contract, known as the Tarahan project, to provide power-related services for the citizens of Indonesia from facilities in Tarahan.    To conceal the bribes, the defendants retained two consultants purportedly to provide legitimate consulting services on behalf of Alstom and Marubeni in connection with the Tarahan project.    In reality, the primary purpose for hiring the consultants was to use the consultants to pay bribes to Indonesian officials.
The first consultant retained by the defendants allegedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars in his Maryland bank account to be used to bribe the member of Parliament.    The consultant then allegedly transferred the bribe money to a bank account in Indonesia for the benefit of the official.    According to court documents, emails between Hoskins, Pomponi, Pierucci, Rothschild, and their co-conspirators discuss in detail the use of the first consultant to funnel bribes to the member of Parliament and the influence that the member of Parliament could exert over the Tarahan project.
However, in the fall of 2003, Hoskins, Pomponi, Pierucci and others determined that the first consultant was not effectively bribing key officials at PLN.    One email between Alstom employees described PLN officials’ “concern that if we have won the job, whether their rewards will still be satisfactory or this agent only give them pocket money and disappear.” In another email, an employee at Alstom’s subsidiary in Indonesia sent an email to Hoskins asserting that the first consultant “has no grip on the PLN Tender team at all” and “is more or less similar to [a] cashier which I feel we pay too much.”
As a result, the co-conspirators retained a second consultant to bribe PLN officials, according to the court documents.    The co-conspirators deviated from Alstom’s usual practice of paying consultants on a pro-rata basis in order to make a much larger up-front payment to the second consultant so that the consultant could “get the right influence.” An employee at Alstom’s subsidiary in Indonesia sent an email to Hoskins, Pomponi, Pierucci and others asking them to finalize the consultancy agreement with the front-loaded payments but stated that in the meantime the employee would give his word to a high-level official at PLN, according to the charges.    The defendants and their co-conspirators were successful in securing the Tarahan project and subsequently made payments to the consultants for the purpose of bribing the Indonesian officials.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being investigated by FBI agents who are part of the Washington Field Office’s dedicated FCPA squad, with assistance from the Meriden, Connecticut, Resident Agency of the FBI.    Significant assistance was provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, and the department has also received substantial assistance from its law enforcement counterparts in Indonesia, Switzerland and Singapore and greatly appreciates their cooperation.    The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Daniel S. Kahn of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David E. Novick of the District of Connecticut.

Former Rabobank Trader Pleads Guilty for Scheme to Manipulate Yen Libor

A former Coöperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. (Rabobank) Japanese Yen derivatives trader pleaded guilty today for his role in a conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud by manipulating Rabobank’s Yen London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR) submissions to benefit his trading positions.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
Today, a criminal information was filed in the Southern District of New York charging Takayuki Yagami, a Japanese national, with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.   Yagami pleaded guilty to the information before United States District Judge Jed S. Rakoff in the Southern District of New York.
“With this guilty plea, we take another significant step to hold accountable those who fraudulently manipulated the world’s cornerstone benchmark interest rate for financial gain,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “This conduct distorted transactions and financial products around the world.  Manipulating LIBOR effectively rigs the global financial system, compromising the fairness of world markets.  This plea demonstrates that the Justice Department will never waver, and we will never rest, in our determination to ensure the integrity of the marketplace and protect it from fraud.
“Today, a former Rabobank trader has pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to manipulate the global benchmark interest rate LIBOR to benefit Rabobank’s trading positions,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.    “This was the ultimate inside job.    As alleged, traders illegally influenced the very interest rate on which their trades were based, using fraud to gain an unfair advantage.    Takayuki Yagami is the ninth person charged by the Justice Department in connection with the industry-wide LIBOR investigation, and we are determined to pursue other individuals and institutions who engaged in this crime.”
“Today’s guilty plea is a significant step forward in the LIBOR investigation and demonstrates the Department’s firm commitment to individual accountability,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Snyder.  “We will continue to pursue aggressively other individuals involved in this or other illegal schemes that undermine free and fair financial markets.”
“Manipulating financial trading markets to create an unfair advantage is against the law,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave.  “Today’s guilty plea further underscores the FBI’s ability to investigate complex international financial crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice.  The Washington Field Office has committed significant time and resources including the expertise of Special Agents, forensic accountants and analysts to investigate this case along with our Department of Justice colleagues.  Their efforts send a clear message to anyone contemplating financial crimes: think twice or you will face the consequences.”
According to court documents, LIBOR is an average interest rate, calculated based on submissions from leading banks around the world, reflecting the rates those banks believe they would be charged if borrowing from other banks.    LIBOR serves as the primary benchmark for short-term interest rates globally and is used as a reference rate for many interest rate contracts, mortgages, credit cards, student loans and other consumer lending products.    The Bank of International Settlements estimated that as of the second half of 2009, outstanding interest rate contracts were valued at approximately $450 trillion.
At the time relevant to the charges, LIBOR was published by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), a trade association based in London.    LIBOR was calculated for 10 currencies at 15 borrowing periods, known as maturities, ranging from overnight to one year.    The published LIBOR “fix” for Yen LIBOR at a specific maturity is the result of a calculation based upon submissions from a panel of 16 banks, including Rabobank.
Yagami admitted to conspiring with Paul Robson, of the United Kingdom, Paul Thompson, of Australia, and Tetsuya Motomura, of Japan.  Robson, Thompson and Motomura were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud as well as substantive counts of wire fraud in a fifteen-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York on April 28, 2014.    All four are former employees of Rabobank.
Rabobank entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice on Oct. 29, 2013 and agreed to pay a $325 million penalty to resolve violations arising from Rabobank’s LIBOR submissions.
According to allegations in the information and indictment, the four defendants traded in derivative products that referenced Yen LIBOR.    Robson worked as a senior trader at Rabobank’s Money Markets and Short Term Forwards desk in London; Thompson was Rabobank’s head of Money Market and Derivatives Trading Northeast Asia and worked in Singapore; Motomura was a senior trader at Rabobank’s Tokyo desk who supervised money market and derivative traders; and Yagami worked as a senior trader at Rabobank’s Money Market/FX Forwards desks in Tokyo and elsewhere in Asia.    In addition to trading derivative products that referenced Yen LIBOR, Robson also served as Rabobank’s primary submitter of Yen LIBOR to the BBA.
Robson, Thompson, Motomura and Yagami each entered into derivatives contracts containing Yen LIBOR as a price component .    The profit and loss that flowed from those contracts was directly affected by the relevant Yen LIBOR on certain dates.    If the relevant Yen LIBOR moved in the direction favorable to the defendants’ positions, Rabobank and the defendants benefitted at the expense of the counterparties.    When LIBOR moved in the opposite direction, the defendants and Rabobank stood to lose money to their counterparties.
As alleged in court filings, from about May 2006 to at least January 2011, the four defendants and others agreed to make false and fraudulent Yen LIBOR submissions for the benefit of their trading positions.    According to the allegations, sometimes Robson submitted rates at a specific level requested by a co-defendant, including Yagami, and consistent with the co-defendant’s trading positions.    Other times, Robson made a higher or lower Yen LIBOR submission consistent with the direction requested by a co-defendant and consistent with the co-defendant’s trading positions.    On those occasions, Robson’s manipulated Yen LIBOR submissions were to the detriment of, among others, Rabobank’s counterparties to derivative contracts.    Thompson, Motomura and Yagami (described in the indictment as Trader-R) made requests of Robson for Yen LIBOR submissions through electronic chats and email exchanges.
For example, according to court filings, on Sept. 21, 2007, Yagami asked Robson by email, “wehre do you think today’s libors are?    If you can I would like 1mth higher today.” Robson responded, “bookies reckon .85,” to which Yagami replied, “I have some fixings in 1mth so would appreciate if you can put it higher mate.” Robson answered, “no prob mate let me know your level.” After Yagami asked for “0.90% for 1mth,” Robson confirmed, “sure no prob[ ] I’ll probably get a few phone calls but no worries mate… there’s bigger crooks in the market than us guys!”
The indictment alleges that Robson accommodated the requests of his co-defendants.    For example, on Sept. 21, 2007, after Robson allegedly received a request from Yagami for a high 1-month Yen LIBOR, Rabobank submitted a 1-month Yen LIBOR rate of 0.90, which was 7 basis points higher than the previous day and 5 basis points above where Robson said that “bookies” predicted it, and which moved Rabobank’s submission from the middle to the highest of the panel.
According to court documents, the defendants were also aware that they were making false or fraudulent Yen LIBOR submissions.    For example, on May 10, 2006, Robson admitted in an email to Yagami that “it must be pretty embarrasing to set such a low libor.  I was very embarrased to set my 6 mth – but wanted to help thomo [Thompson].  Tomorrow it will be more like 33 from me.” At times, Robson referred to the submissions that he submitted on behalf of his co-defendants as “ridiculously high” and “obscenely high,” and acknowledged that his submissions would be so out of line with the other Yen LIBOR panel banks that he might receive a phone call about them from the BBA or Thomson Reuters.
The charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The investigation is being conducted by special agents, forensic accountants, and intelligence analysts in the FBI’s Washington Field Office.    The prosecution is being handled by Senior Litigation Counsel Carol L. Sipperly and Trial Attorney Brian R. Young of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Trial Attorney Michael T. Koenig of the Antitrust Division.    The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs has provided assistance in this matter.
The Justice Department expresses its appreciation for the assistance provided by various enforcement agencies in the United States and abroad.    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Enforcement referred this matter to the department and, along with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, has played a major role in the LIBOR investigation.  The Securities and Exchange Commission also has played a significant role in the LIBOR series of investigations, and the department expresses its appreciation to the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office for its assistance and ongoing cooperation.     The department has worked closely with the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the Dutch Central Bank in the investigation of Rabobank.    Various agencies and enforcement authorities from other nations are also participating in different aspects of the broader investigation relating to LIBOR and other benchmark rates, and the department is grateful for their cooperation and assistance.
This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources.  The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.  For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.com.

 

THREE FORMER RABOBANK TRADERS CHARGED WITH MANIPULATING YEN LIBOR

WASHINGTON — Two former Coöperatieve Centrale  Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. (Rabobank) Japanese Yen derivatives traders and  the trader responsible for setting Rabobank’s Yen London InterBank Offered Rate  (LIBOR) were charged as part of the ongoing criminal investigation into the  manipulation of LIBOR.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the  Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brent  Snyder of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and Assistant Director in  Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the  announcement.

Earlier today, a U.S. Magistrate  Judge sitting in the Southern District of New York signed a criminal complaint  charging Paul Robson of the United Kingdom, Paul Thompson of Australia, and Tetsuya  Motomura of Japan with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud as well  as substantive counts of wire fraud.  All  are former employees of Rabobank, which on Oct. 29, 2013, entered into a  deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice as part of the  department’s LIBOR investigation and agreed to pay a $325 million penalty.  Each defendant faces up to 30 years in prison  for each count upon conviction.

“Today, less than three months  after Rabobank admitted its involvement in the manipulation of LIBOR, we have charged  three of its senior traders with participating in this global fraud scheme,”  said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman.  “As alleged, these three  traders – working from Japan, Singapore and the U.K. – deliberately submitted  what they called ‘obscenely high’ or ‘silly low’ LIBOR rates in order to  benefit their own trading positions.  The illegal  manipulation of this cornerstone benchmark rate undermines the integrity  of the markets; it harms those who are relying on what they expect to be an  honest benchmark; and it has ripple effects that extend far beyond the trading  at issue here.  The Justice Department has now charged eight individuals  and reached resolutions with four multi-national banks as part of our ongoing  and industry-wide LIBOR probe and, alongside our law enforcement and regulatory  partners both here and abroad, we remain committed to continuing to root out  this misconduct.”

“The  conspirators charged today conspired to rig the interest rates used by  derivative products throughout the financial industry to benefit their own  trading books,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Snyder. “Today’s charges  demonstrate the department’s commitment to hold individuals accountable for  schemes that undermine the integrity of markets that rely on competition to  flourish.”

“Manipulation  of benchmark rates that are routinely referenced by financial products around  the world erodes the integrity of our financial markets,” said Assistant  Director in Charge Parlave.  “The charges  against these individuals represent another step in our ongoing efforts to find  and stop those who hide behind complex corporate and securities fraud schemes.  I commend the Special Agents, forensic  accountants and analysts as well as the prosecutors for the significant time  and resources they committed to investigating this case.”

According to the complaint,  LIBOR is an average interest rate, calculated based on submissions from leading  banks around the world, reflecting the rates those banks believe they would be  charged if borrowing from other banks.   LIBOR is published by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), a trade  association based in London.  At the time  relevant to the criminal complaint, LIBOR was calculated for 10 currencies at  15 borrowing periods, known as maturities, ranging from overnight to one  year.  The published LIBOR “fix” for Yen  LIBOR at a specific maturity is the result of a calculation based upon  submissions from a panel of 16 banks, including Rabobank.

LIBOR serves as the primary  benchmark for short-term interest rates globally and is used as a reference  rate for many interest rate contracts, mortgages, credit cards, student loans  and other consumer lending products.  The  Bank of International Settlements estimated that as of the second half of 2009,  outstanding interest rate contracts were valued at approximately $450 trillion.

According to allegations in the complaint,  all three defendants traded in derivative products that referenced Yen  LIBOR.  Robson worked  as a senior trader at Rabobank’s Money Markets and Short Term Forwards desk in  London; Thompson was Rabobank’s head of Money Market and Derivatives Trading  Northeast Asia and worked in Singapore; and Motomura was a senior trader at  Rabobank’s Tokyo desk who supervised money market and derivative traders employed  at Rabobank’s Tokyo desk.  In addition to  trading derivative products that referenced Yen LIBOR, Robson also served as  Rabobank’s primary submitter of Yen LIBOR to the BBA.

Robson, Thompson and Motomura  each entered into derivatives contracts containing Yen LIBOR as a price  component.  The  profit and loss that flowed from those contracts was directly affected by the  relevant Yen LIBOR on certain dates.  If  the relevant Yen LIBOR moved in the direction favorable to the defendants’  positions, Rabobank and the defendants benefitted at the expense of the  counterparties.   When LIBOR moved in the opposite direction, the defendants and  Rabobank stood to lose money to their counterparties.

The complaint alleges that from about May 2006 to at least  January 2011, Robson, Thompson, Motomura and others agreed to make false and  fraudulent Yen LIBOR submissions for the benefit of their trading positions.  According to the allegations, sometimes  Robson submitted rates at a specific level requested by a co-defendant and  consistent with the co-defendant’s trading positions.  Other times, Robson made a higher or lower  Yen LIBOR submission consistent with the direction requested by a co-defendant  and consistent with the co-defendant’s trading positions.  On those occasions, Robson’s manipulated Yen  LIBOR submissions were to the detriment of, among others, Rabobank’s  counterparties to derivative contracts.

In addition to allegedly manipulating Rabobank’s Yen LIBOR  submissions, Robson, on occasion and on behalf of one or more co-defendants,  coordinated his Yen LIBOR submission with the trader responsible for making Yen  LIBOR submissions at another Yen LIBOR panel bank.  At times, Robson allegedly submitted Yen  LIBOR at a level requested by the other trader, and, at other times, that trader  submitted Yen LIBOR at a level requested by Robson.

As alleged  in the complaint, Thompson, Motomura and another Rabobank trader described in  the complaint as Trader-R made requests of Robson for Yen LIBOR submissions  through electronic chats and email exchanges.   For example, on May 19, 2006, after Thompson informed Robson that his  net exposure for his 3-month fixes was 125 billion Yen, he requested by email  that Robson “sneak your 3m libor down a cheeky 1 or 2 bp” because “it will make  a bit of diff for me.”  On or about May  19, 2006, Robson responded: “No prob mate I mark it low.”

On Sept. 21, 2007, Trader-R  asked Robson by email, “where do you think today’s libors are?  If you can I would like 1mth higher  today.”  Robson responded, “bookies  reckon .85,” to which Trader-R replied, “I have some fixings in 1mth so would  appreciate if you can put it higher mate.”   Robson answered, “no prob mate let me know your level.”  After Trader-R asked for “0.90% for 1mth,”  Robson confirmed, “sure no prob[ ] I’ll probably get a few phone calls but no  worries mate… there’s bigger crooks in the market than us guys!”

As another example, on Aug. 4,  2008, in a Bloomberg chat, Motomura asked Robson, “Please set today’s 6mth  LIBOR at 0.96 I have chunky fixing.”  To this, Robson responded, “no  worries mate.”
The complaint alleges that  Robson accommodated the requests of his co-defendants.  For example, on Sept. 21, 2007, after Robson  received a request from Trader-R for a high 1 month Yen LIBOR, Rabobank  submitted a 1-month Yen LIBOR rate of 0.90, which was 7 basis points higher  than the previous day and 5 basis points above where Robson said that “bookies”  predicted it, and which moved Rabobank’s submission from the middle to the  highest of the panel.

According  to court documents, the defendants were also aware that they were making false  or fraudulent Yen LIBOR submissions.  For  example, on May 10, 2006, Robson admitted in an email that “it must be pretty  embarrasing to set such a low libor.  I  was very embarrased to set my 6 mth – but wanted to help thomo [Thompson].  tomorrow it will be more like 33 from  me.”  At times, Robson referred to the  submissions that he submitted on behalf of his co-defendants as “ridiculously  high” and “obscenely high,” and acknowledged that his submissions would be so  out of line with the other Yen LIBOR panel banks that he might receive a phone  call about them from the BBA or Thomson Reuters.

A criminal complaint is a formal  accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.   A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted.

The investigation is being  conducted by special agents, forensic accountants, and intelligence analysts in  the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  The  prosecution is being handled by Trial Attorneys Carol L. Sipperly, Brian Young  and Alexander H. Berlin of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Trial  Attorneys Ludovic C. Ghesquiere and Michael T. Koenig of the Antitrust  Division.  Former Deputy Chief Glenn Leon  and Senior Counsel Rebecca Rohr of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, along  with Assistant Chief Elizabeth Prewitt and Trial Attorneys Eric Schleef and  Richard Powers of the Antitrust Division, have also provided valuable  assistance.  The Criminal Division’s  Office of International Affairs has provided assistance in this matter as well.

The broader investigation  relating to LIBOR and other benchmark rates has required, and has greatly  benefited from, a diligent and wide-ranging cooperative effort among various  enforcement agencies both in the United States and abroad.  The Justice Department acknowledges and  expresses its deep appreciation for this assistance.  In particular, the Commodity Futures Trading  Commission’s Division of Enforcement referred this matter to the department  and, along with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, has played a major role  in the LIBOR investigation.  The department  has worked closely with the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the Dutch  Central Bank in the investigation of Rabobank.   Various agencies and enforcement authorities from other nations are also  participating in different aspects of the broader investigation relating to  LIBOR and other benchmark rates, and the department is grateful for their  cooperation and assistance.  In  particular, the Securities and Exchange Commission has played a significant  role in the LIBOR series of investigations, and the department expresses its  appreciation to the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office for its assistance  and ongoing cooperation.

This prosecution is  part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud  Enforcement Task Force.  President Obama established the interagency  Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and  proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  The task  force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies,  regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement  who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil  enforcement resources.  The task force is working to improve efforts  across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to  investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and  effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat  discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for  victims of financial crimes.  For more  information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.gov.

Alcoa World Alumina Agrees to Plead Guilty to Foreign Bribery and Pay $223 Million in Fines and Forfeiture

Alcoa World Alumina LLC, a majority-owned and controlled global alumina sales company of Alcoa Inc., has agreed to plead guilty later today and pay $223 million in criminal fines and forfeiture to resolve charges that it paid millions of dollars in bribes through an international middleman in London to officials of the Kingdom of Bahrain, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton of the Western District of Pennsylvania, Chief Richard Weber of IRS—Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
“Alcoa World Alumina today admits to its involvement in a corrupt international underworld in which a middleman, secretly held offshore bank accounts, and shell companies were used to funnel bribes to government officials in order to secure business,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman.    “The law does not permit companies to avoid responsibility for foreign corruption by outsourcing bribery to their agents, and, as today’s prosecution demonstrates, neither will the Department of Justice.”
“Today’s case shows that multinational corporations cannot get away with using middlemen to structure sham business arrangements that funnel kickbacks to government officials,” said U.S. Attorney Hickton.
Alcoa World Alumina has agreed to plead guilty in the Western District of Pennsylvania to one count of violating the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA in connection with a 2004 corrupt transaction, to pay a criminal fine of $209 million, and to administratively forfeit $14 million.   As part of the plea agreement, Alcoa Inc. (Alcoa) has agreed to maintain and implement an enhanced global anti-corruption compliance program.
In a parallel action, Alcoa settled with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)  and will pay an additional $161 million in disgorgement, bringing the total amount of U.S. criminal and regulatory penalties to be paid by Alcoa and Alcoa World Alumina to $384 million.
“This case is the result of unraveling complex financial transactions used by Alcoa World Alumina LLC’s agent to facilitate kickbacks to foreign government officials,” said Chief Richard Weber of IRS-CI.   “IRS-CI will not be deterred by the use of sophisticated international financial transactions as we continue our ongoing efforts to pursue corporations and executives who use hidden offshore assets and shell companies to circumvent the law.”
“Corrupt kickback payments to foreign government officials to obtain business diminish public confidence in global commerce,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave.  “There is no place for bribery in any business model or corporate culture.   Today’s plea demonstrates the FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to curbing corruption and will pursue all those who try to advance their businesses through bribery.”
Today’s court filings allege that Alcoa of Australia, another Alcoa-controlled entity, originally secured a long-term alumina supply agreement with Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba), an aluminium smelter controlled by the government of Bahrain.   At the request of certain members of Bahrain’s Royal Family who controlled the tender process, Alcoa of Australia inserted a London-based middleman with close ties to certain Royal Family members as a sham sales agent and agreed to pay him a corrupt commission intended to conceal bribe payments, according to court papers.   Over time, Alcoa of Australia expanded the relationship with the middleman, identified as Consultant A in today’s court filings, to begin invoicing increasingly larger volumes of alumina sales through his shell companies, which permitted Consultant A to make larger bribe payments to certain government officials, according to today’s filings.
As admitted in the charging documents, in 2004, Alcoa World Alumina corruptly secured a long-term alumina supply agreement with Alba by agreeing to purportedly sell over 1.5 million metric tons of alumina to Alba through offshore shell companies owned by Consultant A.   The sham distributorship permitted Consultant A to mark up the price of alumina by approximately $188 million from 2005 to 2009, the duration of the corrupt supply agreement.   Court filings allege that Consultant A used the mark-up to pay tens of millions in corrupt kickbacks to Bahraini government officials, including senior members of Bahrain’s Royal Family.   To conceal the illicit payments, Consultant A and the government officials used various offshore bank accounts, including accounts held under aliases, at several major financial institutions around the world, including in Guernsey, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
In addition to the monetary penalty, Alcoa and Alcoa World Alumina agreed to cooperate with the department in its continuing investigation of individuals and institutions involved in these matters.
The plea agreement and related court filings acknowledge Alcoa’s current financial condition as a factor relevant to the size of the criminal fine, as well as Alcoa’s and Alcoa World Alumina’s extensive cooperation with the department, including conducting an extensive internal investigation, making proffers to the government, voluntarily making current and former employees available for interviews, and providing relevant documents to the department.   Court filings also acknowledge subsequent anti-corruption remedial efforts undertaken by Alcoa.
The department acknowledges and expresses its appreciation for the cooperation and assistance of the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland, the Guernsey Financial Intelligence Service and Guernsey Police, the Australian Federal Police, the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office, and other law enforcement authorities in the department’s investigation of this matter.   The department also acknowledges and expresses its appreciation for the significant assistance provided by the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
The investigation is being conducted by Special Agents and analysts with the IRS-Criminal Investigation’s Washington Field Office and the FBI’s Washington Field Office.   The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Adam G. Safwat and Trial Attorneys Andrew Gentin, Allan J. Medina and Andrew H. Warren of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania.   The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided significant assistance during this investigation.
Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa .

RBS Securities Japan Ltd Sentenced for Manipulation of Yen Libor

RBS Securities Japan Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Royal Bank of Scotland plc (RBS) that engages in investment banking operations with its principal place of business in Tokyo, Japan, was sentenced today for its role in manipulating the Japanese Yen London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), a leading benchmark used in financial products and transactions around the world.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
RBS Securities Japan was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in the District of Connecticut.    RBS Securities Japan pleaded guilty on April 12, 2013, to one count of wire fraud for its role in manipulating Yen LIBOR benchmark interest rates.    RBS Securities Japan signed a plea agreement with the government in which it admitted its criminal conduct and agreed to pay a $50 million fine, which the court accepted in imposing sentence.    In addition, RBS plc, the Edinburgh, Scotland-based parent company of RBS Securities Japan, entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the government requiring RBS plc to pay an additional $100 million penalty, to admit and accept responsibility for its misconduct as set forth in an extensive statement of facts and to continue cooperating with the Justice Department in its ongoing investigation.    The DPA reflects RBS plc’s cooperation in disclosing LIBOR misconduct within the financial institution and recognizes the significant remedial measures undertaken by new management to enhance internal controls.
Together with approximately $462 million in regulatory penalties and disgorgement – $325 million as a result of a Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) action and approximately $137 million as a result of a U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) action – the Justice Department’s criminal penalties bring the total amount of the resolution with RBS and RBS Securities Japan to approximately $612 million.
“Today’s sentencing of RBS is an important reminder of the significant consequences facing banks that deliberately manipulate financial benchmark rates, and it represents one of the numerous enforcement actions taken by the Justice Department in our ongoing LIBOR investigation” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman. “As a result of the department’s investigation, we have charged five individuals and secured admissions of criminal wrongdoing by four major financial institutions.  Our enforcement actions have had a lasting impact on the global banking system, and we intend to continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute the manipulation of this cornerstone benchmark rate.”
“By colluding to manipulate the Yen LIBOR benchmark interest rate, RBS Securities Japan reaped higher profits for itself at the expense of unknowing counterparties, and in the process undermined the integrity of a major benchmark rate used in financial transactions throughout the world,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Snyder.  “Today’s sentence, in conjunction with the department’s agreement with parent company RBS, demonstrates the Antitrust Division’s commitment to prosecuting these types of far-reaching and sophisticated conspiracies.”
“The manipulation of LIBOR impacts financial products the world over, and erodes the integrity of the financial markets,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave.    “Without a level playing field in our financial marketplace, banks and investors do not have a threshold to which they can measure their hard work.    I commend the Special Agents, forensic accountants and analysts, as well as the prosecutors, for the significant time and resources they committed to investigating this case.”
According to court documents, LIBOR is an average interest rate, calculated based upon submissions from leading banks around the world, reflecting the rates those banks believe they would be charged if borrowing from other banks.    LIBOR serves as the primary benchmark for short-term interest rates globally, and is used as a reference rate for many interest rate contracts, mortgages, credit cards, student loans and other consumer lending products.    The Bank of International Settlements estimated that as of the second half of 2009, outstanding interest rate contracts were valued at approximately $450 trillion.
LIBOR is published by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), a trade association based in London.    At the time relevant to the conduct in the criminal information, LIBOR was calculated for 10 currencies at 15 borrowing periods, known as maturities, ranging from overnight to one year.    The LIBOR for a given currency at a specific maturity is the result of a calculation based upon submissions from a panel of banks for that currency (the Contributor Panel) selected by the BBA.
According to the plea agreement, at various times from at least 2006 through 2010, certain RBS Securities Japan Yen derivatives traders engaged in efforts to move LIBOR in a direction favorable to their trading positions, defrauding RBS counterparties who were unaware of the manipulation affecting financial products referencing Yen LIBOR.    The scheme included efforts to manipulate more than one hundred Yen LIBOR submissions in a manner favorable to RBS Securities Japan’s trading positions.    Certain RBS Securities Japan Yen derivatives traders, including a manager, engaged in this conduct in order to benefit their trading positions and thereby increase their profits and decrease their losses.
The prosecution of RBS Securities Japan is being handled by Deputy Chief Patrick Stokes and Trial Attorney Gary Winters of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and New York Office Assistant Chief Elizabeth Prewitt and Trial Attorneys Eric Schleef and Richard Powers of the Antitrust Division.    Deputy Chiefs Daniel Braun and William Stellmach and Trial Attorney Alex Berlin of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, Trial Attorneys Daniel Tracer and Kristina Srica of the Antitrust Division, Jeremy Verlinda of the Antitrust Division’s Economic Analysis Group, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric Glover and Liam Brennan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs have also provided valuable assistance in this matter.    The investigation is being conducted by special agents, forensic accountants and intelligence analysts of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
The investigation leading to these cases has required, and has greatly benefited from, a diligent and wide-ranging cooperative effort among various enforcement agencies both in the United States and abroad.    The Justice Department acknowledges and expresses its deep appreciation for this assistance.    In particular, the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement referred this matter to the department and, along with the FCA, has played a major role in the investigation.    Various agencies and enforcement authorities from other nations are also participating in different aspects of the broader investigation relating to LIBOR and other benchmark rates, and the department is grateful for their cooperation and assistance.   In particular, the Securities and Exchange Commission has played a significant role in the LIBOR investigation, and the department expresses its appreciation to the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office for its assistance and ongoing cooperation.
This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.    President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.    The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources.    The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.   For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.gov .

Three Subsidiaries of Weatherford International Limited Agree to Plead Guilty to FCPA and Export Control Violations;

Three subsidiaries of Weatherford International Limited (Weatherford International), a Swiss oil services company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange, have agreed to plead guilty to anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and export controls violations under  the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Trading With the Enemy Act (TWEA).  Weatherford International and its subsidiaries have also  agreed to pay more than $252 million in penalties and fines.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas, and Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.        Weatherford Services Limited (Weatherford Services), a subsidiary of Weatherford International, today agreed to plead guilty to violating the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.   As part of a coordinated FCPA resolution, the department today also filed a criminal information in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas charging Weatherford International with one count of violating the internal controls provisions of the FCPA.    To resolve the charge, Weatherford International has agreed to pay an $87.2 million criminal penalty as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the department.
“Effective internal accounting controls are not only good policy, they are required by law for publicly traded companies – and for good reason,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman.  “This case demonstrates how loose controls and an anemic compliance environment can foster foreign bribery and fraud by a company’s subsidiaries around the globe.  Although Weatherford’s extensive remediation and its efforts to improve its compliance functions are positive signs, the corrupt conduct of Weatherford International’s subsidiaries allowed it to earn millions of dollars in illicit profits, for which it is now paying a significant price.”

“When business executives engage in bribery and pay-offs in order to obtain contracts, an uneven marketplace is created and honest competitor companies are put at a disadvantage,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave.  “The FBI is committed to investigating corrupt backroom deals that influence contract procurement and threaten our global commerce.”
In a separate matter, Weatherford International and four of its subsidiaries today agreed to pay a combined $100 million to resolve a criminal and administrative export controls investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, and the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.    As part of the resolution of that investigation, Weatherford International has agreed to enter into a deferred prosecution agreement for a term of two years and two of its subsidiaries have agreed to plead guilty to export controls charges.
“The resolution today of these criminal charges represents the seriousness that our office and the Department of Justice puts on enforcing the export control and sanctions laws,” said U.S. Attorney Magidson.
In a related FCPA matter, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (  SEC) filed a settlement today in which Weatherford International consented to the entry of a permanent injunction against FCPA violations and agreed to pay $65,612,360 in disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties.    Weatherford International also agreed with the SEC to comply with certain undertakings regarding its FCPA compliance program, including the retention of an independent corporate compliance monitor.
The combined investigations resulted in the conviction of three Weatherford subsidiaries, the entry by Weatherford International into two deferred prosecution agreements and a civil settlement, and the payment of a total of $252,690,606 in penalties and fines.
FCPA Violations According to court documents filed by the department, prior to 2008, Weatherford International knowingly failed to establish an effective system of internal accounting controls designed to detect and prevent corruption, including FCPA violations.   The company failed to implement these internal controls despite operating in an industry with a substantial corruption risk profile and despite growing its global footprint in large part by purchasing existing companies, often themselves in countries with high corruption risks.    As a result, a permissive and uncontrolled environment existed within which employees of certain of Weatherford International’s wholly owned subsidiaries in Africa and the Middle East were able to engage in corrupt conduct over the course of many years, including both bribery of foreign officials and fraudulent misuse of the United Nations’ Oil for Food Program.
Court documents state that Weatherford Services employees established and operated a joint venture in Africa with two local entities controlled by foreign officials and their relatives from 2004 through at least 2008.    The foreign officials selected the entities with which Weatherford Services would partner, and Weatherford Services and Weatherford International employees knew that the members of the local entities included foreign officials’ relatives and associates.    Notwithstanding the fact that the local entities did not contribute capital, expertise or labor to the joint venture, neither Weatherford Services nor Weatherford International investigated why the local entities were involved in the joint venture.    The sole purpose of those local entities, in fact, was to serve as conduits through which Weatherford Services funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to the foreign officials controlling them.    In exchange for the payments they received from Weatherford Services through the joint venture, the foreign officials awarded the joint venture lucrative contracts, gave Weatherford Services inside information about competitors’ pricing, and took contracts away from Weatherford Services’ competitors and awarded them to the joint venture.
Additionally, Weatherford Services employees in Africa bribed a foreign official so that he would approve the renewal of an oil services contract, according to court documents.    Weatherford Services funneled bribery payments to the foreign official through a freight forwarding agent it retained via a consultancy agreement in July 2006.    Weatherford Services generated sham purchase orders for consulting services the freight forwarding agent never performed, and the freight forwarding agent, in turn, generated sham invoices for those same nonexistent services.    When paid for those invoices, the freight forwarding agent passed at least some of those monies on to the foreign official with the authority to approve Weatherford Services’ contract renewal.    In exchange for these payments, the foreign official awarded the renewal contract to Weatherford Services in 2006.
Further, according to court documents, in a third scheme in the Middle East, from 2005 through 2011, employees of Weatherford Oil Tools Middle East Limited (WOTME), another Weatherford International subsidiary, awarded improper “volume discounts” to a distributor who supplied Weatherford International products to a government-owned national oil company, believing that those discounts were being used to create a slush fund with which to make bribe payments to decision-makers at the national oil company.    Between 2005 and 2011, WOTME paid approximately $15 million in volume discounts to the distributor.
Weatherford International’s failure to implement effective internal accounting controls also permitted corrupt conduct relating to the United Nations’ Oil for Food Program to occur, according to court documents.    Between in or about February 2002 and in or about July 2002, WOTME paid approximately $1,470,128 in kickbacks to the government of Iraq on nine contracts with Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, as well as other ministries, to provide oil drilling and refining equipment.    WOTME falsely recorded these kickbacks as other, seemingly legitimate, types of costs and fees.    Further, WOTME concealed the kickbacks from the U.N. by inflating contract prices by 10 percent.
According to court documents, these corrupt transactions in Africa and the Middle East earned Weatherford International profits of $54,486,410, which were included in the consolidated financial statements that Weatherford International filed with the SEC  .
In addition to the guilty plea by Weatherford Services, the deferred prosecution agreement entered into by Weatherford International and the Department requires the company to cooperate with law enforcement, retain an independent corporate compliance monitor for at least 18 months, and continue to implement an enhanced compliance program and internal controls designed to prevent and detect future FCPA violations.    The agreement acknowledges Weatherford International’s cooperation in this matter, including conducting a thorough internal investigation into bribery and related misconduct, and its extensive remediation and compliance improvement efforts.
Export Control Violations
According to court documents filed today in a separate matter, between 1998 and 2007, Weatherford International and some its subsidiaries engaged in conduct that violated various U.S. export control and sanctions laws by exporting or re-exporting oil and gas drilling equipment to, and conducting Weatherford business operations in, sanctioned countries without the required U.S. Government authorization.    In addition to the involvement of employees of several Weatherford International subsidiaries, some Weatherford International executives, managers, or employees on multiple occasions participated in, directed, approved, and facilitated the transactions and the conduct of its various subsidiaries.
This conduct involved persons within the U.S.-based management structure of Weatherford International participating in conduct by Weatherford International foreign subsidiaries, and the unlicensed export or re-export of U.S.-origin goods to Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria. Weatherford subsidiaries Precision Energy Services Colombia Ltd. (PESC) and Precision Energy Services Ltd. (PESL), both headquartered in Canada, conducted business in the country of Cuba.    Weatherford’s subsidiary Weatherford Oil Tools Middle East (WOTME), headquartered in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), conducted business in the countries of Iran, Sudan, and Syria.    Weatherford’s subsidiary Weatherford Production Optimisation f/k/a eProduction Solutions U.K. Ltd. (eProd-U.K.), headquartered in the United Kingdom, conducted business in the country of Iran. Weatherford generated approximately $110 million in revenue from its illegal transactions in Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan.      To resolve these charges, Weatherford and its subsidiaries will pay a total penalty of $100 million, with a $48 million monetary penalty paid pursuant to a deferred prosecution agreement, $2 million paid in criminal fines pursuant to the two guilty pleas, and a $50 million civil penalty paid pursuant to a Department of Commerce settlement agreement to resolve 174 violations charged by Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security.    Weatherford International and certain of its affiliates are also signing a $91 million settlement agreement with the Department of the Treasury to resolve their civil liability arising out of the same underlying course of conduct, which will be deemed satisfied by the payments above.
The FCPA case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and its team of special agents dedicated to the investigation of foreign bribery cases.    The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Jason Linder of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark McIntyre of the Southern District of Texas.   The case was previously investigated by Fraud Section Trial Attorneys Kathleen Hamann and Allan Medina, with assistance from the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section.   The Justice Department also acknowledges and expresses its appreciation for the significant assistance provided by the SEC’s FCPA Unit.
The export case was investigated by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement, and the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.    The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Mark McIntyre and was previously investigated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Vaden.

Former Defense Contractor Employee and Wife Plead Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud Millions in Scheme Involving Supplies to Afghan National Army

Keith Johnson, 46, and his wife, Angela Johnson, 44, of Maryville, Tenn., pleaded guilty today to their roles in a $9.7 million procurement fraud scheme.

Mythili Raman, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Robert E. Craig, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Special Agent in Charge of Mid-Atlantic Field Office; John Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR); and Frank Robey, Director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU), made the announcement after the pleas were accepted by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia.

The Johnsons were indicted on July 16, 2013, by a federal grand jury on conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud charges.  Keith Johnson faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and Angela Johnson faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when they are sentenced on Feb. 14, 2014.

In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Keith Johnson admitted to serving as the program manager for a Department of Defense contractor that operated a central maintenance facility (CMF) in Kabul, Afghanistan, and other facilities in that country to maintain and repair vehicles used by the Afghan National Army.  In his position during 2007 to 2008, Keith Johnson was involved in purchasing vehicle parts from vendors.  The Johnsons formed a company in Tennessee, Military Logistics Support (MLS), and listed only the names of relatives as officials in the documents filed.  Angela Johnson operated the company.  When Keith Johnson’s company solicited quotes for different vehicle parts that were needed, Angela Johnson, using her maiden name of “Angela Gregory” to conceal her relationship to Keith Johnson, responded with quotes based on parts that she was able to purchase from other vendors of vehicle parts.  Keith Johnson used his position as program manager to write letters justifying awards of purchase orders for parts to MLS without seeking competitive quotes, and in instances in which there had been competitive quotes, approving recommendations that the awards be made to MLS.

The Johnsons also conspired with John Eisner and Jerry Kieffer, two individuals who worked at the CMF as subcontractors to Keith Johnson’s company, to have Keith Johnson similarly steer purchase orders for other types of vehicle parts to Eisner’s and Kieffer’s separate company, Taurus Holdings.  Eisner submitted the quotes for Taurus using a fake name to conceal his connection to the subcontractor.  Eisner and Kieffer paid kickbacks to the Johnsons and on occasion engaged in collusive bidding with the Johnsons so that MLS could win competitions for certain purchase orders.  Eisner and Kieffer previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy and will be sentenced on Dec. 18, 2013.

As a result of the scheme, Keith Johnson’s company awarded MLS at least $9.7 million worth of purchase orders for vehicle parts by Keith Johnson’s company.

This case was investigated by DCIS, FBI, SIGAR and Army MPFU.  Trial Attorney Daniel Butler of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant United States Attorneys Jack Hanly and Ryan Faulconer of the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

RABOBANK ADMITS WRONGDOING IN LIBOR INVESTIGATION, AGREES TO PAY $325 MILLION CRIMINAL PENALTY

WASHINGTON — Coöperatieve Centrale  Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. (Rabobank) has entered into an  agreement with the Department of Justice to pay a $325 million penalty to  resolve violations arising from Rabobank’s submissions for the London InterBank  Offered Rate (LIBOR) and the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor), which are  leading benchmark interest rates around the world, the Justice Department  announced today.

A criminal information will be filed  today in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut that charges  Rabobank as part of a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA). The  information charges Rabobank with wire fraud for its role in manipulating the  benchmark interest rates LIBOR and Euribor. In addition to the $325  million penalty, the DPA requires the  bank to admit and accept responsibility for its misconduct as described in an  extensive statement of facts. Rabobank has agreed to continue cooperating  with the Justice Department in its ongoing investigation of the manipulation of  benchmark interest rates by other financial institutions and  individuals.

“For years, employees at Rabobank, often working with traders at other  banks around the globe, illegally manipulated four different interest rates –  Euribor and LIBOR for the U.S. dollar, the yen, and the pound sterling – in the  hopes of fraudulently moving the market to generate profits for their traders  at the expense of the bank’s counterparties,” said Acting Assistant Attorney  General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “Today’s criminal resolution – which represents the second-largest penalty in  the Criminal Division’s active, ongoing investigation of the manipulation of  global benchmark interest rates by some of the largest banks in the world –  comes fast on the heels of charges brought against three former ICAP brokers  just last month. Rabobank is the fourth major financial institution that  has admitted its misconduct in this wide-ranging criminal investigation, and  other banks should pay attention: our investigation is far from over.”

“Rabobank rigged multiple benchmark rates, allowing its traders to reap  higher profits at the expense of their unsuspecting counterparties,” said  Deputy Assistant Attorney General Leslie C. Overton of the Justice  Department’s Antitrust Division. “Not only was this conduct fraudulent,  it compromised the integrity of globally-used interest rate benchmarks –  undermining financial markets worldwide.”

“Rabobank admitted to manipulating LIBOR and Euribor submissions which  directly affected the rates referenced by financial products held by and on  behalf of companies and investors around the world,” said Assistant Director in  Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “Rabobank’s  actions resulted in the deliberate harm to counterparties holding products  referencing the manipulated rates. Today’s announcement is yet another  example of the tireless efforts of the FBI special agents and forensic  accountants who are dedicated to investigating complex fraud schemes and,  together with prosecutors, bringing to justice those who participate in such  schemes.”

Together with approximately $740 million in criminal and regulatory  penalties imposed by other agencies in actions arising out of the same conduct  – $475 million by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) action, $170  million by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) action and approximately  $96 million by the Openbaar Ministerie (the Dutch Public Prosecution Service) –  the Justice Department’s $325 million criminal penalty brings the total amount  to be paid by Rabobank to more than $1 billion.

According to signed documents, LIBOR is an average interest rate,  calculated based upon submissions from leading banks around the world and  reflecting the rates those banks believe they would be charged if borrowing  from other banks. LIBOR serves as the primary benchmark for short-term  interest rates globally and is used as a reference rate for many interest rate  contracts, mortgages, credit cards, student loans and other consumer lending  products. The Bank of International Settlements estimated that as of the  second half of 2009, outstanding interest rate contracts were valued at  approximately $450 trillion.

LIBOR is published by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), a trade  association based in London. At the time relevant to the conduct in the  criminal information, LIBOR was calculated for 10 currencies at 15 borrowing  periods, known as maturities, ranging from overnight to one year. The  LIBOR for a given currency at a specific maturity is the result of a  calculation based upon submissions from a panel of banks for that currency (the  Contributor Panel) selected by the BBA. From at least 2005 through 2011,  Rabobank was a member of the Contributor Panel for a number of currencies,  including United States dollar (dollar) LIBOR, pound sterling LIBOR, and yen  LIBOR.

The Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor) is published by the European  Banking Federation (EBF), which is based in Brussels, Belgium, and is  calculated at 15 maturities, ranging from overnight to one year. Euribor  is the rate at which Euro interbank term deposits within the Euro zone are  expected to be offered by one prime bank to another at 11:00 a.m. Brussels  time. The Euribor at a given maturity is the result of a calculation based  upon submissions from Euribor Contributor Panel banks. From at least 2005  through 2011, Rabobank was also a member of the Contributor Panel for  Euribor.

According to the statement of facts accompanying the agreement, from as  early as 2005 through at least November 2010, certain Rabobank derivatives  traders requested that certain Rabobank dollar LIBOR, yen LIBOR, pound sterling  LIBOR, and Euribor submitters submit LIBOR and Euribor contributions that would  benefit the traders’ trading positions, rather than rates that complied with  the definitions of LIBOR and Euribor.

In addition, according to the statement of facts accompanying the  agreement, from as early as January 2006 through October 2008, a Rabobank yen  LIBOR submitter and a Rabobank Euribor submitter had two separate agreements  with traders at other banks to make yen LIBOR and Euribor submissions that  benefitted trading positions, rather than submissions that complied with the  definitions of LIBOR and Euribor.

The Rabobank LIBOR and Euribor submitters accommodated traders’  requests on numerous occasions, and on various occasions, Rabobank’s  submissions affected the fixed rates.

According to the statement of facts, Rabobank employees engaged in this  conduct through electronic communications, which included both emails and  electronic chats. For example, on Sept. 21, 2007, a Rabobank Yen  derivatives trader emailed the Rabobank Yen LIBOR submitter at the time with  the subject line “libors,” writing: “Wehre do you think today’s libors are?  If you can, I would like 1mth libors higher today.” The submitter  replied: “Bookies reckon 1m sets at .85.” The trader wrote back: “I have  some fixings in 1 mth so would appreciate if you can put it higher mate.”  The submitter replied: “No prob mate let me know your level.” The trader  responded: “Wud be nice if you could put 0.90% for 1mth cheers.” The  submitter wrote back: “Sure no prob. I’ll probably get a few phone calls but no  worries mate!” The trader replied: “If you may get a few phone calls then  put 0.88% then.” The submitter responded: “Don’t worry mate – there’s  bigger crooks in the market than us guys!” That day, as requested,  Rabobank’s 1-month Yen LIBOR submission was 0.90, an increase of seven basis  points from its previous submission, whereas the other panel banks’ submissions  decreased by approximately a half of a basis point on average. Rabobank’s  submission went from being tied as the tenth highest submission on the  Contributor Panel on the previous day to being the highest submission on the  Contributor Panel.

On Nov. 29, 2006, a Rabobank dollar derivatives trader wrote to  Rabobank’s Global Head of Liquidity and Finance and the head of Rabobank’s  money markets desk in London, who supervised rate submitters: “Hi mate, low 1s  high 3s LIBOR pls !!! Dont tell [another Rabobank U.S. Dollar derivatives  trader] haa haaaaaaa. Sold the market today doooooohhhh!” The money  markets desk head replied: “ok mate , will do my best …speak later.”  After the LIBOR submissions that day, Rabobank’s ranking compared to other  panel banks dropped as to 1-month dollar LIBOR and rose as to 3-month dollar  LIBOR. Two days later, on Dec. 1, 2006, the trader again wrote to the money  markets desk head: “Appreciate 3s go down, but a high 3s today would be nice…  cheers chief.” The money markets desk head wrote back: “I am fast turning  into your LIBOR bitch!!!!” The trader replied: “Just friendly  encouragement that’s all , appreciate the help.” The money markets desk  head wrote back: “No worries mate , glad to help ….We just stuffed ourselves  with good ol pie , mash n licker !!”

In an example of an agreement with traders at other banks, on July 28,  2006, a Rabobank rate submitter and Rabobank trader discussed their mutual  desires for a high fixing. The submitter stated to the trader: “setting a  high 1m again today – I need it!” to which the trader responded: “yes pls  mate…I need a higher 1m libor too.” Within approximately 20 minutes, the  submitter contacted a trader at another Contributor Panel bank and wrote: “morning  skipper…..will be setting an obscenely high 1m again today…poss 38 just  fyi.” The other bank’s trader responded, “(K)…oh dear..my poor  customers….hehehe!! manual input libors again today then!!!!” Both  banks’ submissions on July 28 moved up one basis point, from 0.37 to 0.38, a  move which placed their submissions as the second highest submissions on the  Contributor Panel that day.

As another example, on July 7, 2009, a Rabobank trader wrote to a  former Rabobank yen LIBOR submitter: “looks like some ppl are talking with each  other when they put libors down. . . quite surprised that 3m libors came down a  lot.” The former submitter replied: “yes deffinite manipulation – always  is tho to be honest mate. . . i always used to ask if anyone needed a favour  and vise versa. . . . a little unethical but always helps to have friends in  mrkt.”

By entering into a DPA with Rabobank, the Justice Department took  several factors into consideration, including that Rabobank has no history of  similar misconduct and has not been the subject of any criminal enforcement  actions or any significant regulatory enforcement actions by any authority in  the United States, the Netherlands, or elsewhere. In addition, Rabobank  has significantly expanded and enhanced its legal and regulatory compliance  program and has taken extensive steps to remediate the misconduct.  Significant remedies and sanctions are also being imposed on Rabobank by  several regulators and an additional criminal law enforcement agency (the Dutch  Public Prosecution Service).

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by special agents, forensic  accountants, and intelligence analysts of the FBI’s Washington Field  Office. The prosecution of Rabobank is being handled by Assistant Chief  Glenn S. Leon and Trial Attorney Alexander H. Berlin of the Criminal Division’s  Fraud Section and Trial Attorneys Ludovic C. Ghesquiere, Michael T. Koenig and  Eric L. Schleef of the Antitrust Division. Deputy Chiefs Daniel Braun and  William Stellmach of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, Criminal Division  Senior Counsel Rebecca Rohr, Assistant Chief Elizabeth B. Prewitt and Trial  Attorney Richard A. Powers of the Antitrust Division’s New York Office, and  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric Glover and Liam Brennan of the U.S. Attorney’s  Office for the District of Connecticut, along with Criminal Division’s Office  of International Affairs, have provided valuable assistance in this  matter.

The investigation leading to these cases has  required, and has greatly benefited from, a diligent and wide-ranging  cooperative effort among various enforcement agencies both in the United States  and abroad. The Justice Department acknowledges and expresses its deep  appreciation for this assistance. In particular, the CFTC’s Division of  Enforcement referred this matter to the department and, along with the FCA, has  played a major role in the investigation. The department has also worked  closely with the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and De Nederlandsche Bank  (the Dutch Central Bank) in the investigation of Rabobank. Various  agencies and enforcement authorities from other nations are also participating  in different aspects of the broader investigation relating to LIBOR and other  benchmark rates, and the department is grateful for their cooperation and  assistance. In particular, the Securities and Exchange Commission has  played a significant role in the LIBOR investigation, and the department  expresses its appreciation to the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office for its  assistance and ongoing cooperation.

This  prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial  Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency  Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and  proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task  force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies,  regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement  who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil  enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts  across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to  investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and  effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat  discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for  victims of financial crimes. For more information about the task force  visit: www.stopfraud.gov.

 

ICAP Brokers Face Felony Charges for Alleged Long-Running Manipulation of LIBOR Interest Rates

Two former derivatives brokers and a former cash broker employed by London-based brokerage firm ICAP were charged as part of the ongoing criminal investigation into the manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), the Justice Department announced today.

Darrell Read, who resides in New Zealand, and Daniel Wilkinson and Colin Goodman, both of England, were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and two counts of wire fraud in a criminal complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court earlier today.  They each face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison for each count upon conviction.

“By allegedly participating in a scheme to manipulate benchmark interest rates for financial gain, these defendants undermined the integrity of the global markets,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “They were supposed to be honest brokers, but instead, they put their own financial interests ahead of that larger responsibility.  And as a result, transactions and financial products around the world were compromised, because they were tied to a rate that was distorted due to the brokers’ dishonesty.  These charges underscore the Justice Department’s determination to hold accountable all those whose conduct threatens the integrity of our financial markets.”

“These three men are accused of repeatedly and deliberately spreading false information to banks and investors around the world in order to fraudulently move the market and help their client fleece his counterparties,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “Our criminal investigation of the manipulation of LIBOR by some of the largest banks in the world has led us from New York to London, to Tokyo, and other financial hubs around the globe.  These important charges are just the latest law-enforcement action in the Criminal Division and Antitrust Division’s global LIBOR investigation, and reflect the Department’s continued dedication to detecting, and prosecuting, financial fraudsters who affect U.S. markets, whether they work at a bank, or a brokerage, and whether they carry out their fraud from a desk in the United States, or abroad.”

“The complaint unsealed today charges Colin Goodman, Daniel Wilkinson and Darrell Read for conspiring to manipulate benchmark interest rates that determined the profitability of their client’s trades,” said Scott D. Hammond, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program.  “In exchange for bigger bonus checks, the three defendants undermined financial markets around the world by compromising the integrity of globally used interest rate benchmarks.  The Department continues to demonstrate its commitment to protecting the interest of American citizens in free and fair financial markets.”

“Corporate and securities fraud involving the manipulation of these rates causes a worldwide impact on trading positions and erodes the integrity of the market and confidence in Wall Street,” said Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  “Unraveling such complex financial schemes is difficult and time consuming.  Today’s charges are the result of the hard work of the FBI special agents and forensic accountants who dedicated significant time and resources to investigating this case.”

According to the criminal complaint, LIBOR is an average interest rate, calculated based on submissions from leading banks around the world, reflecting the rates those banks believe they would be charged if borrowing from other banks.  LIBOR is published by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), a trade association based in London.  At the time relevant to the criminal complaint, LIBOR was calculated for 10 currencies at 15 borrowing periods, known as maturities, ranging from overnight to one year.  The published LIBOR “fix” for a given currency at a specific maturity is the result of a calculation based upon submissions from a panel of banks for that currency (the contributor panel) selected by the BBA.

LIBOR serves as the primary benchmark for short-term interest rates globally and is used as a reference rate for many interest rate contracts, mortgages, credit cards, student loans and other consumer lending products.  The Bank of International Settlements estimated that as of the second half of 2009, outstanding interest rate contracts were estimated at approximately $450 trillion.

According to allegations in the criminal complaint filed in this case, between July 2006 and September 2010, Wilkinson was a desk director employed in the London office of ICAP, where he supervised a group of derivatives brokers – including Read – specializing in Yen-based financial products.  Generally, the desk’s clients were derivatives traders at large financial institutions, and the transactions brokered by Wilkinson, Read and others on the desk essentially consisted of bets between traders on the direction in which Yen LIBOR would move.  Between July 2006 and September 2009, the desk’s largest client was a senior trader at UBS (UBS Trader) in Tokyo, to whom Read spoke almost daily.  Because of the large size of the client’s trading positions, even slight moves of a fraction of a percent in Yen LIBOR could generate large profits.  For example, UBS Trader once told Read that a 0.01 percent – or one basis point – movement in the final Yen LIBOR fixing on a specific date could result in $3 million profit for his trading positions.  A significant part of both Read’s and Wilkinson’s compensation was tied to the brokerage fees generated by UBS Trader and paid to ICAP.

Goodman was a cash broker at ICAP’s London office during the relevant time period.  In addition to brokering cash transactions, Goodman distributed a daily email to individuals outside of ICAP, including derivatives traders at several large banks as well as those responsible for providing the BBA with LIBOR submissions at certain banks.  Goodman’s email contained what was termed his “SUGGESTED LIBORS,” purported predictions of where Yen LIBOR ultimately would fix each day across eight specified borrowing periods.  Read and Wilkinson, along with Goodman himself, often referred to Goodman as “lord libor.”

The complaint alleges that Read, Wilkinson and Goodman, together with UBS Trader, executed a sustained and systematic scheme to move Yen LIBOR in a direction favorable to UBS Trader’s trading positions.

According to the criminal complaint, the primary strategy employed by Read, Wilkinson and Goodman to execute the scheme was to use Goodman’s “SUGGESTED LIBORS” email to disseminate misinformation to Yen LIBOR panel banks in hopes that the banks would rely on the misinformation when making their own respective Yen LIBOR submissions to the BBA for inclusion in the published fix.  Rather than providing good faith predictions as to where Yen LIBOR would fix, Goodman instead often used his daily email to set forth predictions which benefitted UBS Trader’s trading positions.

Beginning in or about June 2007, Goodman was paid a bonus through the desk Wilkinson supervised, allegedly intended, at least in part, to reward Goodman for his role in their effort to influence and manipulate the published Yen LIBOR fix.

As a second strategy, Read and Wilkinson allegedly further agreed to contact interest rate derivatives traders and submitters employed at Yen LIBOR panel banks in an effort to cause them to make false and misleading submissions to the BBA at UBS Trader’s behest.

As alleged in the charging document, Read, Wilkinson, Goodman, UBS Trader, and other co-conspirators often executed their scheme through electronic chats and email exchanges.  For example, on June 28, 2007, in an email message, Read told Wilkinson: “DAN THIS IS GETTING SERIOUS [UBS TRADER] IS NOT HAPPY WITH THE WAY THINGS ARE PROGRESSING . . . CAN YOU PLEASE GET HOLD OF COLIN AND GET HIM TO SEND OUT 6 MOS LIBOR AT 0.865 AND TO GET HIS BANKS SETTING IT HIGH. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT BECAUSE [UBS TRADER] IS QUESTIONING MY (AND OUR) WORTH.”

The complaint alleges that the defendants were aware of the effects that Goodman’s false and fraudulent “SUGGESTED LIBORS” had on submissions by Yen LIBOR panel banks.  For example, on Nov. 20, 2008, Read asked UBS Trader, “you have a really big fix tonight I believe? if Colin sends out 6m at a more realistic level than 1.10 [%] i reckon [the two panel banks] will parrot him, it might mean 6m coming down a bit.” On the following day, Nov. 21, 2008, Goodman moved his suggestion for 6-month Yen LIBOR down by nine basis points.  The two other banks mirrored Goodman’s suggestion, moving their 6-month Yen LIBOR submissions down by nine basis points.

According to allegations in the complaint, Read counseled UBS Trader how to most effectively manipulate Yen LIBOR.  For example, UBS Trader told Read in a July 22, 2009, electronic chat that “11th aug is the big date…i still have lots of 6m fixings till the 10th.”   Read responded to UBS Trader, “if you drop [UBS’s] 6m dramatically on the 11th mate, it will look v fishy… .  I’d be v careful how you play it, there might be cause for a drop as you cross into a new month but a couple of weeks in might get people questioning you.”  UBS Trader replied, “don’t worry will stagger the drops…ie 5bp then 5bp,” and Read told UBS Trader, “ok mate, don’t want you getting into [expletive].”  UBS Trader again assured Read that UBS and two additional panel banks would stagger their drops in coordination, and Read concluded, “great the plan is hatched and sounds sensible.”

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.  A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted.

The investigation is being conducted by special agents, forensic accountants, and intelligence analysts of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  The prosecution is being handled by Deputy Chief William Stellmach and Trial Attorney Sandra L. Moser of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Trial Attorneys Eric Schleef and Kristina Srica of the Antitrust Division.  Trial Attorneys Alexander Berlin and Thomas B.W. Hall, Law Clerk Andrew Tyler, and Paralegal Specialist Kevin Sitarski of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, along with Assistant Chief Elizabeth Prewitt and Trial Attorney Richard Powers of the Antitrust Division, and former Trial Attorney Luke Marsh have also provided valuable assistance.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs has provided assistance in this matter as well.

The broader investigation relating to LIBOR and other benchmark rates has required, and has greatly benefited from, a diligent and wide-ranging cooperative effort among various enforcement agencies both in the United States and abroad.  The Justice Department acknowledges and expresses its deep appreciation for this assistance.  In particular, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Enforcement referred this matter to the Department and, along with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, has played a major role in the investigation.  The Securities and Exchange Commission has also provided valuable assistance for which the Department is grateful.  The Department also expresses its appreciation to the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office for its assistance and ongoing cooperation.  Various agencies and enforcement authorities from other nations are also participating in different aspects of the broader investigation, and the Department is grateful for their cooperation and assistance as well.

Finally, the Department acknowledges ICAP’s continuing cooperation in the Department’s ongoing investigation.

This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources.  The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.