Deep Into The Lieborgate Rabbit Hole: The Swiss Hedge Fund Link?

Tyler Durden's picture




 

That Lieborgate is about to spill over and take down many more banks is well known: as previously reported that the world's biggest bank Deutsche Bank, has become a rat for the Liebor prosecution having turned sides. The reason: "Under the leniency programs of the EU, companies may get total immunity from fines or a reduction of fines which the anti-trust authorities would have otherwise imposed on them if they hand over evidence on anti-competitive agreements or those involved in a concerted practice." However, just like in the case of Barclays (with Diamond), JPM (with Bruno Iksil), UBS (with Kweku) and Goldman (with Fabrice Tourre), there always is a scapegoat. Today we find just who that scapegoat is. From Bloomberg: "Regulators are investigating the possible roles of Michael Zrihen at Credit Agricole, Didier Sander at HSBC and Christian Bittar at Deutsche Bank, the person said on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. The names of the banks and traders were reported earlier today by the Financial Times."

Of course, as so very often happens, the link between the investigated firm, and the person in question no longer exists - after all what better brute way to tie up loose ends, than to fire the person in question at some point in the past: "Michael Golden, a spokesman for Deutsche Bank, confirmed that Bittar left the bank last year and declined to comment on the investigation." Not surprising. Yet this is where the story gets interesting, and provides a whole new twist on the Lieborgate scandal.

Notice that up until now, the only firms that have been implicated in Lieborgate are, by definition, the BBA member banks which provided daily USD Libor fixings. However, nowhere is it said that this information never exited this close knit cabal of 16 manipulating banks. After all, there are $2 trillion in AUM (a number that is likely $5 trillion when accounting for all the rehypothecated assets at the Prime Brokers) out there run by unregulated hedge funds, and all of these entities would certainly find a way to make a pretty buck on even the tiniest 'manipulated', and leveraged Libor arbitrage. And would also pay a pretty penny to get that info. Which brings us back to Bittar. And LinkedIn.

Since neither Bloomberg, nor the earlier FT article have any discussion of just where Mr. Bittar ended up, knowing quite well there is very likely a full-scale investigation forming into his Libor transgressions. The first place we went to, naturally, was LinkedIn, not because we expected to find his profile there: very few higher echelon bankers actually post their resumes on LinkedIn, but because we were fairly confident that the very useful function of seeing whose other profiles had been looked at in the context of even a "fake" Bittar, would provide us with clues. Sure enough that's precisely what happened.

Sure enough, the first entry for the DB trader is the following:

Christian Bittar

 

Owner, SAFETY DYNAMICS

 

    Greater New York City Area
    Construction

Hardly the person we are looking for. Yet what we were looking for is right here: the follow up profiles of people that are contextually relevant, and correct. And again the context, at least superficially, is anyone connected to a person who allegedly has been involved in Libor manipulation.

We get some curious names:

Going down the list, it just gets curiouser and curiouser as we go deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole.

The first person:

  • philippe moryousse, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley

a cursory search reveals the following on philippe: From February

Barclays reported a suspected manipulation of the Euribor by one of its employees, Philippe Moryoussef, who left the bank in 2007 and is currently employed with Nomura Singapore.

 

Addressing the allegations, a Nomura spokesman said: “Nomura is aware of the investigation into the setting of Euribor and Libor rates. The allegations against Mr Moryoussef are related to a period of time before he joined Nomura. We would point out the fact that Nomura is not a member of either the Euribor panel or the Libor panel, and therefore has no role in the setting of these rates.”

And yet, as of literally 9 hours ago:

Philippe Moryoussef, a Singapore- based derivatives trader at Nomura Holdings Inc., (8604) Japan’s biggest brokerage, left the bank as investigators probe his involvement in the suspected manipulation of interest rates, according to two people with knowledge of the move.

 

Moryoussef’s departure last month was by mutual agreement and relates to his work at his past employer, Barclays Plc (BARC), rather than Nomura, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the departure hasn’t been made public. Moryoussef didn’t return messages sent via LinkedIn and wasn’t contactable through directory searches in Singapore and London.

 

Moryoussef joined Nomura in February 2011 after a yearlong stint at Morgan Stanley, according to the U.K. Financial Services Authority’s register. He worked at Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS) from August 2007 to June 2009 and at London-based Barclays from May 2005 to August 2007.

 

FSA spokesman Chris Hamilton declined to comment on whether Moryoussef is under investigation as part of its probe. Officials at Barclays declined to comment on Moryoussef.

So immediately we get one indirect connection, at least based on others' curiosity, into a person who has just left once more after his past transgressions at Barclays back in 2007 have become evident. Something tells us Philippe is one of the anonymous gentlemen whose Champagne-reference laden emails have made the case against Barclays legendary. Oh and his previous stint at RBS is likely about to be exposed too.

But like we said this is not about banks, there are more interest fish to fry here. Namely pure-play buysiders. Which is why we continue down the list, until we find...

  • Michael Zrihen, Senior Portfolio Manager at Lombard Odier Asset Management, based in Geneva, Switzerland

What does Michael do, and what did he do before?

Current: Senior Portfolio Manager at Lombard Odier

 

Past: Head of the Euro Short term IRD Market Making and Proprietary Trading at Credit Agricole CIB
        Proprietary Trading, Executive Director at SGCIB
        Co-Head of Euro STIRD desk at SGCIB

IRD means Interest Rate Derivatives means, you guessed it, Lie-bor. And where is that name familiar from? Oh yes. First paragraph above:

Regulators are investigating the possible roles of Michael Zrihen at Credit Agricole, Didier Sander at HSBC and Christian Bittar at Deutsche Bank, the person said on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing. The names of the banks and traders were reported earlier by the Financial Times.

So allegedly Zrihen, who now works in Geneva (keep a note of this), manipualted Libor at CA, and is now at Lombard Odier - "Geneva's oldest firm of private bankers and one of the largest in Switzerland and Europe." There is no news on whether Zrihen has been let go by Lombard Odier. Yet.

Next, we continue down the list, until we reach.... Richard Fell:

Well lookee here: another former INTEREST RATE DERIVATIVES TRADER, which means that he likely is that as a PM at his current firm BlueCrest as well. And note also where BlueCrest is based: Geneva, Swizterland.

At this point we decide to do another search: one for Christian Bittar and BlueCrest, and guest what we find, courtesy of Derivatives Intelligence:

The original LinkedIn list continues (much to the likely chagrin of at least one SocGen trader and one more CA-CIB banker), but we have seen enough, and the pattern is forming: it appears that the bankers who were allegedly involved in Libor manipulation in some capacity in their previous lives working for banks, decided to quietly depart under mutually acceptable conditions and find new lives, still trading Libor and IR derivatives, in some of the best known, and even less regulated, Swiss hedge funds and private banks.

Our question then is the following: while much has been said about Lieborgate as being purely associated with the 16 BBA USD fixing member banks, just who else made money, and is the traditionally quiet and always under the radar Swiss financial community about to be exposed for having profits far more from Lieborgate than any of the BBA member banks?

Because if the stigmatized traders were accepted with open arms at various Swiss hedge funds, one would think there may, just may have been, some quid pro quo in the past (for those who have worked in the financial industry this needs no further explanation).

We eagerly await the answer, and perhaps the Swiss regulators to finally wake up to their own "pristeen" financial industry.

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Wed, 07/18/2012 - 20:42 | 2630290 Precious
Precious's picture

Surely there will be something from Wikileaks shortly.  That would be justice for the British extradition of Assange to Switzerland.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 20:44 | 2630301 veyron
veyron's picture

Where is the wikileaks BAC release?

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 20:45 | 2630309 Precious
Precious's picture

The release is in the condom that the Swiss prosecutors are holding.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 21:36 | 2630380 The They
The They's picture

BRAVO TYLER for doing some very interesting and cutting edge research!

This is why I read zerohedge!

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 21:48 | 2630465 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

That and it's the most insightful forum on the web.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 22:12 | 2630532 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Surely the Tylers have been trained by the very likes of Hercule Poirot. This is some rad sleuthing - I am impressed.

And trudat. ZH is definitely the best community of knowledgeable folk on the www. Love you guys. <3

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 22:33 | 2630584 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Just another day in the park for Zero Hedge, which puts the "conventional, respectable, main stream financial press" to shame, badly, yet again.

It began with the Goldman HFT scam, which the testosterone driven financial nerds of ZH broke wide open while the respectable Bloomberg, cnBSc & Wall Street Journal apparently didn't understand, and continues to this day.

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 00:19 | 2630726 Dr Benway
Dr Benway's picture

Fifteen minutes of trawling social media sites, and ZH knows more than the regulators.

 

Conclusions:

1) Banksters are poor at being gangsters and players, and leave ridiculous paper trails due to their arrogance.

2) Regulators are WWE referees, beards, accomplices whose function is to lend the con legitimacy.

 

This is just like the Mafia don that got caught through Facebook:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1258369/Pasquale-Manfredi-Facebook-arrest-Mafia-hitman-Scarface-caught.html

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 00:56 | 2630823 AlaricBalth
AlaricBalth's picture

Bluecrest Capital sounds awfully familiar.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/founder-30-billion-hedge-fund-bluecrest-sa...

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/so-how-are-jpms-prop-counterparties-faring

BlueCrest Capital Management was founded in London in 2000 by former JP Morgan proprietary traders Mike Platt and Bill Reeves (who is now retired) and is now officially headquartered in Guernsey with offices in Geneva, Singapore, New York and Boston as well as London.

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 01:08 | 2630840 truthparency
truthparency's picture

A little bit of whois-hunting reveals a bunch of BlueCrest domains, funds, deals, corporations, personnel, etc. behind different web fronts, some of which claim to be unaffiliated with the others (despite site addresses in the same net block).  Looks like the rats have been busy.

 

www.bluecrestcapital.com

www.bluecrestcapital.com

www.bluecrestallblue.com

www.bluecrestcapitalfinance.com

www.bluecrestbluetrend.com

www.bluecrestallblue.co.uk

 

 

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 01:07 | 2630836 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Clearly, being branded an "Alleged" thief does not make you un-hireable at a bank. In fact, it seemingly makes you more attractive.

i know a young man who is a pathological liar. Pathological is an understatement.

He has been employed by one bank after another in London, no issues, for a decade now.

They like their own kind, pilfering proclivities and all.

ori

war-inc

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 22:34 | 2630586 Real Estate Geek
Real Estate Geek's picture

+1 Dr. E and TT.

You know what time it is?  It's time for me to make another donation to ZH and support the Tylers and their great work--God's work even (and Fuck You, Lloyd). So if you'll excuse me . . .

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 21:51 | 2630469 AlaricBalth
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It is a known fact amid the prosecutorial community within the U.S. criminal justice system that white collar criminals are the easiest individuals to roll over and provide evidence against others. They are more than willing to "cut a deal" to save themselves from more severe punishment and will throw anyone and everyone under the bus, even if someone only played a peripheral role in the alleged activity. Within the Federal prison system, white collar felons are the least trusted among inmates.

And therein lies one of the main reasons why we have seen minimal arrests despite the myriad of scandals and fraudulent behavior over the last decade. Once you open the floodgates, the allegations are going to come pouring out and there is no telling how high the water will rise. This is very frightening to those in power.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 22:07 | 2630520 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Don't you see? It's the dirtiest secret of 'em all: The way the most successful bankers make money requires no "skill". It's just legalized cheating. 

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 23:21 | 2630639 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Zero Hedge to Simon Ross:  

"I see that you've been writing stories about 'Operation Blackbriar & Lieborgate'.  Do you even know who these people are or what they'll do to you? Do exactly as I say if you want to stay alive."

 

Phukkin' Main Street Media Knobs

 

Treadstone, bitchez.

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 01:08 | 2630841 macholatte
macholatte's picture

Doesn't everybody already know how this is going to play out?

 

 

Tom Hagen: When a plot against the Emperor failed... the plotters were always given a chance... to let their families keep their fortunes. Right?
Frank Pentangeli: Yeah, but only the rich guys, Tom. The little guys got knocked off and all their estates went to the Emperors. Unless they went home and killed themselves, then nothing happened. And the families... the families were taken care of.
Tom Hagen: That was a good break. A nice deal.
Frank Pentangeli: Yeah... They went home... and sat in a hot bath... opened up their veins... and bled to death... and sometimes they had a little party before they did it.

 

from The Godfather: Part II (1974)
Wed, 07/18/2012 - 22:06 | 2630521 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

dupe

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 00:01 | 2630762 The Gooch
The Gooch's picture

Except those poor souls that get "suicided".

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 00:17 | 2630776 flacon
flacon's picture

Arkancide - Hillary style.

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 05:59 | 2630993 Sofa King
Sofa King's picture

Don't forget...Drown in a Hof Tub.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 20:49 | 2630319 knukles
knukles's picture

When?  Just fucking when are people going to realize just why it's referred to a "social media"?
What people in any positions of power aside form pure sociopathic narcissists need such self imposed recognition in the public spotlight.

Note to self: Fire anybody with profiles on social media.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 21:21 | 2630392 WonderDawg
WonderDawg's picture

Spread the word quickly! My LNKD puts expire Friday and need some help!

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 21:42 | 2630446 azzhatter
azzhatter's picture

You mean to tell me there is actually a publication called "Deriviatives Weekly"??? Just fucking kill me now. The whole fucking world has gone crazy. What's next "Structured Finance with Ned"

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 00:35 | 2630800 AlaricBalth
AlaricBalth's picture

You asked for it! Only it's not with Ned. It's with Henry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Journal_of_Structured_Finance

Do you prefer firing squad or the noose?

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 02:14 | 2630885 Nobody For President
Nobody For President's picture

Scholarly bunch of fuckers...

http://www.iijournals.com/toc/jsf/current

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 07:04 | 2631049 Obadiah
Obadiah's picture

I thought you said "suicide finance"  I like it! "Suicide Finance Journal"TM  Hell I am a print/internet publisher its a GO  I'll link you to the new website next week! Free print edition sub for everyone.

 

Please send your great financial suicide ideas to me!   hotnews@suicidefinancejournal.com

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 21:44 | 2630450 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture

sociopathic narcissists

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 22:16 | 2630539 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

I hate "job interviews." My style of finding out whether I want to work with someone or not involves a day of conversation and hanging out. When I have a bunch of small businesses going in a few years (I really hope I get to do that and everything doesn't go to absolute shit for eternity to come), I will ask only one formal interview question: "are you active on social media?"

Sure as fuck aint gonna hire no facebookers...

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 22:36 | 2630575 Unprepared
Unprepared's picture

Prominent blog 0H hiring experienced social media lurkers/stalkers, profile scoopers/snoopers and late-hour serial voyours. 3+ experience in FCB, LNK, TWTR, discussion boards and other specialized social media. Fluent in trolling and social media slangs, knows how to use urbandictionnary and investopedia. Familiar with financial jargon, acrual experience a plus. Paranoid, conspiracy-theory-like dot-connector, attention to detail. Bowl of rice/day + perks.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 22:41 | 2630598 Unprepared
Unprepared's picture

And somebody let the other guy's friend's mom, alledgedly making 140/hr, without leaving her house, know that this is the real shit. 

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 23:05 | 2630648 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

I thoght it was $700 an hour...

Or was that $7,000 a day...

Hurry! Act now!

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 00:27 | 2630788 Fidel Sarcastro
Fidel Sarcastro's picture

TYLER!  I was going to send you an email but WTF let's get public here...WELL FUCKING DONE MATE (and staff)...well fucking done, indeed!

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 00:33 | 2630798 CCanuck
CCanuck's picture

DoucheBook, social narcissism at its finest!

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 21:51 | 2630474 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

you mean Sweden?

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 23:34 | 2630713 Precious
Precious's picture

You're right.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 20:51 | 2630302 razorthin
razorthin's picture

The pitchfork-bearing mobs shall grant them no such leniency under thunderdome.

Holy sh!t.  Hell will be glowing white with these high criminals.  The fire only burns blue on earth for the convicted common man.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 20:44 | 2630305 TwoJacks
TwoJacks's picture

holy crap, I can hear the keyboards around the world closing linkedin profiles as we watch this item get juicier and juicier.  nice work, tyler!

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 20:53 | 2630328 knukles
knukles's picture

From Dedier to Schmuckees:  Dude we better close our Linkdein profiles, you see what;s happening?
S to D:  Oui, bon observation
D to S:  Sure, we can always e-mail or Facebook
S to D:  grand idea!  ciao!

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 21:18 | 2630385 OpenThePodBayDoorHAL
OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

they should use a Burn Note instead:

https://burnnote.com/#/

 

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 02:18 | 2630887 Nobody For President
Nobody For President's picture

Good one I didn't know about. Thanks.

Great psued, as well...

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 20:47 | 2630315 same old story
same old story's picture

Genius !!!  wow keep it coming

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 22:40 | 2630597 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

this is tyler kicking ass big-time, BiCheZ!

keep toking, tyler!  L0L!!!  (between fights, that is...)  {and drinking...  of course...}

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 20:50 | 2630321 jal
jal's picture

Keep up the digging.

Make the hole extra large for all those that will need burying.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 20:55 | 2630332 PaperBear
PaperBear's picture

Bank X scapegoat Y ? Does anyone believe this 'not the bank's fault, it was rogue worker(s)' ?

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 21:01 | 2630334 LeisureSmith
LeisureSmith's picture

Pure ZH brand awesome-sauce.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 20:56 | 2630336 haskelslocal
haskelslocal's picture

Yep. There's one chance with LinkedIn. It's just been used. Another gap filled. Hope it was worth it. Something tells me the Quid Pro Quo won't agree.

 

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 20:56 | 2630338 notadouche
notadouche's picture

Investigative journalism that just doesn't exist anywhere else.  Nicely done.  The Times will probably come out with this in about 6 months claiming it as original on their part.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 21:05 | 2630355 YouThePeople
YouThePeople's picture

 Egregious Swiss Miss. Their 'neutrality' is stunning.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 21:06 | 2630358 takinthehighway
takinthehighway's picture

Great job. Thank you, Tyler.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 21:34 | 2630362 Mercury
Mercury's picture

This does underscore some of my earlier comments that, aside from putting lipstick on a megabank under stress (with apparent regulator prodding/acquiescence), LIBOR manipulation couldn't have been about goosing overall bank profits since such beasts are always both big payers and receivers of LIBOR based positions at any given time.

So, the misbehavior had to have been about individual/small group cheating and profit-goosing from day one: putting up a decent Q number for the desk, digging oneself out of a lousy P&L, making a particular deal more attractive etc.

But now we learn that the circle extends to a somewhat wider alumni network…and perhaps involves such things as say - helping some hedge fund kill it with their seven-dimensional, leveraged derivatives position that all pivots on LIBOR being at/below/above a certain level. Hhhmmmmm.

I think Zero Hedge is guilty of committing actual journalism here.

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