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Perth trader Paul Thompson sentenced to jail in US over LIBOR rate-rigging scandal

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by November 10, 2016 General

A former Rabobank trader from Perth has been sentenced to three months’ jail in the United States over his role in a global scandal that involved rigging LIBOR benchmark interest rates.

Paul Thompson pleaded guilty to helping rig LIBOR benchmark interest rates while working as a trader in Singapore between 2006 and 2011.

He was indicted by a grand jury along with two other traders in April 2014 after he had left the bank and was working as a real estate agent in Perth.

Thompson wept today as he asked a New York District Court judge for mercy.

“I plead with you your honour for mercy,” Thompson said, his face covered in tears as his wife Robyn watched from the public gallery of the Manhattan courtroom.

Thompson discovered last week he has an 80 per cent chance of having prostate cancer.

But his emotional plea failed, with Judge Jed Rakoff sentencing him to three months in prison.

It was the smallest term handed out so far by US and British courts to the eight men punished for the scandal, with Thompson’s co-accuseds receieviing sentences ranging between 12 months and five-and-a-half years.

Home for Christmas

Judge Rakoff showed further leniency by granting the 50-year-old bail so he could return to Perth to spend Christmas with his family before beginning his sentence in February next year.

Thompson had sought community service or home detention to be served in Perth.

The court heard how Thompson, who worked as a derivatives trader in Hong Kong and Singapore for Rabobank, had his working and family life turned upside down since an investigation into the interest rate rigging began six years ago.

His wife suffered a heart attack last year, his son has a serious medical condition, his mother has battled cancer and his conviction ended his career in the financial industry.

Evidence was tendered of emails sent between the traders that altered, for their own benefit, the LIBOR which is the most significant global benchmark for short-term interest rates.

In one message Thompson asks a colleague to submit a “0.44 if you can keep a straight face”.

“My stomach churns and I feel sick every time I read back over those emails,” Thompson told the judge.

AAP/ABC

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