Ex-Barclays trader tells court Libor rate promise was ‘just banter’

A former Barclays trader accused of conspiring to rig a global interest rate said a promise to name a colleague in a book and to invite him to his bar in return for help in setting Libor was “just banter”.

Greek-born Stylianos Contogoulas told Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday that he had been instructed by his boss within days of joining the Barclays dollar desk in 2005 to tell a senior colleague the level he wanted Libor rates set at.

“‎It was done very openly and in a very normal way and gave the impression this was a regular, normal thing,” Contogoulas said on his first day in the witness box.

Contogoulas, 44, is one of five former Barclays bankers charged with conspiracy to defraud by manipulating Libor, the London interbank offered rate, a benchmark for rates on around $450 trillion of financial contracts worldwide.

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