Photo by Michael Nagle/Bloomberg
Photo by Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

The Lawyers in the First U.S. Criminal Trial Over LIBOR

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors in Manhattan delivered opening statements to a jury that must decide whether two former Rabobank traders “exploited and abused” their role in helping to set the London interbank offered rate, also known as LIBOR.

It marks the first U.S. trial over alleged LIBOR-rigging, a key benchmark interest rate. The two defendants, Anthony Allen and Anthony Conti, both formerly based in London as Rabobank Groep traders, stand accused of a conspiracy to manipulate benchmark interest rates tied to more than $350 trillion of loans and securities.

In the prosecution’s opening statement, Carol Sipperly said, “These men … with several others at Rabobank schemed to rig Libor to their own advantage to make money on the Libor interest rate swaps,” according to Bloomberg News.

Big Law Business can’t be at the trial, but we’re always interested in meeting the lawyers involved. To that end:

• Sipperly: She helped prosecute John Gotti Jr. in the late 1990s, according to New York magazine characterized as “the last great Mafia trial of the century” in an article that quotes veteran defense attorney Bruce Cutler calling her “a fine lawyer.”

• Allen’s lawyer Michael Schachter, of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, is a former assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan, where he worked on a string of insider trading cases including the prosecutions of Martha Stewart, her broker Peter Bacanovic, and Samuel Waksal, former chief executive officer of ImClone, according to his website bio.

“Tony Allen never put in a false rate — ever,” Schachter told the jury, according to Bloomberg. “The evidence will show you that Tony Allen had no motive whatsoever to engage in their criminal activity.”

• Conti’s lawyer Aaron Williamson is a partner at Tor Ekeland whose bio suggests he normally counsels software companies and focuses on open source issues. Williamson previously served as an in-house attorney at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, he told the jury that other former Rabobank traders who have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the government gave prosecutors a panicked story. “I think you’ll see that story for what it is,” Williamson told jurors Wednesday.

The case is in front of U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan and is U.S. v. Allen, 14-cr-272, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. Rakoff earlier ruled that prosecutors can’t tell jurors about the Rabobank’s deferred-prosecution  agreement and its $325 million payment to resolve a federal investigation.