Wednesday 16 October 2019

Banker 'ruled the roost' rate-rigging trial told

Andreas Hauschild was an MD at Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt
Andreas Hauschild was an MD at Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt

Kirstin Ridley

A former senior Deutsche Bank executive, who "ruled the roost" in Frankfurt, was part of an elite group that gamed the global financial system, seeking an edge over counterparties in a five-year rate-rigging plot, a London trial heard.

Such was the sway of German Andreas Hauschild, a former managing director, that he only accommodated convicted Deutsche Bank star trader Christian Bittar's rate requests when it suited his own trading needs, a prosecutor alleged.

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Mr Hauschild denies the charges.

The 54-year-old, who ran the bank's team responsible for rate submissions, denies any wrongdoing and sat impassively in the glass-surrounded dock as James Waddington outlined the UK Serious Fraud Office's (SFO) case against him.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Mr Waddington told the jury there could be conflict between Mr Hauschild and Bittar, a former London-based Deutsche Bank colleague he called one of the world's leading interest rate traders.

"Where there was... a conflict, Mr Hauschild got his own way. Mr Bittar was not accommodated because Mr Hauschild's wishes prevailed because he ruled the roost in Frankfurt," Mr Waddington told the jury at Southwark Crown Court.

Mr Hauschild is charged with conspiracy to defraud over the alleged manipulation of Euribor (the euro interbank offered rate), a Brussels-based benchmark that helps determine rates on around €159trn of global financial contracts and loans.

Euribor, like its Libor (London interbank offered rate) counterpart, is designed to reflect the cost of borrowing between banks and is set after submitters at a panel of major banks report their estimated costs of borrowing over various periods to an administrator, who calculates an average.

Mr Hauschild, who appeared in court wearing an open-necked white shirt and spectacles, is accused of conspiring with others at Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Societe Generale and other banks between January 2005 and December 2009. The jury heard that Bittar has already been convicted over the conspiracy alongside one-time Barclays trader Philippe Moryoussef, ex-Barclays senior rate submitter Colin Bermingham and former Barclays trader Carlo Palombo.

Mr Waddington said the convictions proved a conspiracy and it was up to the jury to decide whether Mr Hauschild was part of it. Prosecutors allege bankers rigged rates by nudging them up or down to benefit trading positions, ignoring rules that they should be set independently.

Mr Waddington said that Mr Hauschild, who joined Deutsche Bank in 1988 and left at the end of 2006, sometimes ignored Bittar's rate requests because they interfered with his own "similarly dishonest money-making plans".

Reuters

Irish Independent

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