Former Barclays Trader Accused Of Rigging Euribor: 'I Don't Even Know What That Is'

After a jury returned no verdict during a trial of three former Barclays traders last year, the UK's Serious Fraud Office, hungry, as always, for a win, and fearful of again appearing ineffectual in the public eye, has put all three men back on trial, and this time, they're hoping for a guilty verdict that - if past sentences are any guideline - could put the traders behind bars for upwards of five years.

While the details of these trials are largely tedious, steeped as they are in the arcana of life on the swaps desk, every once in a while, a juicy morsel or ill-considered comment cuts through the noise.

Palombo

Carlos Palombo

And on Monday, one such comment was uttered by former Barclays trader and current doctoral candidate Carlo Palombo, who is perhaps best known for awkwardly comparing his position on the rates desk to being a cashier at a fast-food restaurant and also claimed that he was effectively paid 400,000 pounds a year to  fetch tea for his associates. 

Once again playing into the defense that he was too inexperienced to be responsible for anything as nefarious as rigging Euribor, Palombo revealed during his first day of testimony that he didn't know the precise definition of "Euribor" until his case began.

In response to questions from his lawyer, Palombo said that the training he received at Barclays was "very general", and that, despite working for years on the bank's euro interest-rate swaps desk, he never really learned the exact meaning of the key rate, though he did have a "general understanding" of how interest rates worked, based on interactions with his former boss, Philippe Moryoussef, who was convicted of helping mastermind the market manipulation scheme last year.

Palombo said the daily level of Euribor was "totally insignificant" to his work.

And when asked if he would ever consider a return to banking, the current student of the psycho-social sciences, chuckled and replied: "No."

We imagine his former bosses at Barclays are both horrified and amazed by his claims.