Reich '04 acquitted of LIBOR-rigging charges after second trial in two years| July 10, 2017
Ryan Reich ’04, accused of manipulating the LIBOR rate for profit between 2005 and 2007, was acquitted in April. Reich, an ex-Barclays interest rate swaps trader, was among the eight individuals acquitted of LIBOR rigging over the past two years.
The ruling comes from a retrial of the case after the jury of the first trial was unable to reach a verdict in July 2016, according to the New York Times.
The LIBOR, short for London Interbank Offered Rate, is a benchmark interest rate used by the world’s leading banks for short-term loans to each other. A total of 35 different LIBOR rates are set each business day for five world currencies across seven different loan periods, from one day to up to one year. Manipulating the LIBOR rate affects financial institutions’ perceptions of the health of the economy, as LIBOR rates are inversely related to confidence in financial system stability.
Reich was tried alongside Stylianos Contogoulas, another ex-Barclays trader. The two were charged with conspiracy to manipulate the U.S. dollar LIBOR over a period of two years from 2005 to 2007. The three-month U.S. dollar LIBOR is the figure quoted most often for determining interbank interest rates. The rate is used to price over $3 trillion of derivatives, securities, and loans around the world, underscoring the magnitude of the charges.
Contogoulas was also acquitted of LIBOR fraud and manipulation. Reich and Contogoulas will walk free after a five-year investigation lasting from July 2012 to April 2017 by the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office and two trials in two years.
Reich and Contogoulas were initially charged with four other Barclays employees — Peter Johnson, Jonathan Mathew, Jay Merchant, and Alex Pabon — for manipulating the U.S. dollar LIBOR. The six men were charged in February and April 2014, and Johnson pleaded guilty in October of the same year.
The remaining five defendants were subsequently tried in a three-month trial in mid-2016, according to a case brief by the SFO. Matthew, Merchant, and Pabon were convicted, while no verdict was reached on Reich and Contogoulas, resulting in the 2017 retrial.
The retrial lasted from February 27, to April 6, 2017, and featured testimonies from many former and current Barclays executives, according to Bloomberg. Scott Bradley, the University’s current head baseball coach and Reich’s former coach, also testified in his defense. According to Bloomberg, Bradley spoke to Reich’s character, leadership, and maturity during his time on the team.
Bradley did not respond to requests for comment. However, Dominic Lewis, the 5 Paper Buildings lawyer who prosecuted Reich and Contogoulas on behalf of the Serious Fraud Office, believes Bradley’s testimony helped Reich’s case.
“Evidence of positive good character is always likely to help a defendant,” Lewis said in an email. “It certainly would not have done any harm.”
According to a press release by QEB Hollis Whiteman, the British law firm that represented Reich in the retrial, the jury reached a verdict of “not guilty” for both men after just three hours of deliberation. Reich was defended by QEB Hollis Whiteman barristers Tom Doble and Adrian Darbishire QC.
The firm QEB Hollis Whiteman did not respond to requests for comment.
Reich and Contogoulas were prosecuted on behalf of the SFO by 5 Paper Buildings barristers Lewis and Emma Deacon QC. Neither Deacon nor Lewis responded to requests for comment on the final outcome of the case.
Since leaving Barclays in 2010, Reich has held managing positions at a hedge fund and a real estate development company. He is currently a founding partner of New York-based real estate and private equity firm RSW Investments, LLC.
Reich studied economics at the University. On campus, he was a four-year member of the varsity baseball team with a batting average of 0.283, a manager of TigerFood delivery service, and a member of Cottage Club.