Three Former Barclays Employees Charged With Fixing Interest Rate

The investigation into the bank's ex-employees is a new chapter in the Libor probe

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Three former Barclays employees will face criminal charges in the U.K. for fixing interest rates, widening the global investigation into the alleged manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. 

Libor is the average interest rate at which London’s biggest banks borrow money from other banks, which determines the cost of borrowing money around the world, affecting individual commercial borrowers as well as major financial institutions.

A change in the Libor rate of a few hundredths of a percentage point can make or break fortunes, and so far at least 17 financial institutions and 28 individuals have been entangled in an alleged series of scandals to manipulate Libor up or down in order to make a profit, reports the Wall Street Journal.

In the most recent case, three employees of Barclays Bank — former rate submitters Peter Johnson and Jonathan Mathew and former trader Stylianos Contogoulas—will face criminal charges brought by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office, reports the Journal. All three continued to work in the financial industry after the Libor investigation began in 2008.

Lawyers for the three former employees have not yet publicly commented.

The new charges likely represent a new angle from previous investigations, which have focused on an alleged rate-manipulation ring led by former Tokyo-based UBS and Citigroup trader Tom Hayes during different years than the new charges.