Former SocGen banker avoids the fugitive label in the fight against Libor-Rig claims (1)

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A former Societe Generale SA banker accused of participating in a $ 170 million Libor-rigging scheme is not an American fugitive and can continue his efforts to dismiss the allegations, the Second Circuit has ruled.

The appeals court on Thursday overturned a 2019 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York that barred banker Muriel Bescond from seeking legal redress because she had remained in France and had failed. presented in a US court. France has not extradited Bescond.

“We conclude that Bescond is not a fugitive and, even though she was a fugitive, the district court abused her discretion by disqualifying her,” wrote Judges John Walker and Dennis Jacobs of the Court of Appeal. of the United States for the second circuit in the opinion.

Second Circuit Chief Justice Debra Ann Livingston agreed in part and in dissent in a separate opinion.

The three-judge panel returned Bescond’s motion to dismiss his indictment to the district court for further processing.

The Justice Department alleged in 2017 that Bescond and another SocGen banker Danielle Sindzingre ordered their subordinates to submit bogus US dollar Libor rates to make it appear that the bank could borrow at interest rates. lower.

The London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, is a daily estimate of borrowing costs among the world’s largest banks. It is used to value trillions of dollars in financial products, including mortgages, commercial loans, and derivatives. Prosecutors allege that Bescond’s shares affected the price of $ 170 million in futures contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

The Second Circuit said it did not have jurisdiction to examine the French banker’s claims that U.S. commodity exchange law did not apply to her. The appeals court also said it lacked jurisdiction to consider Bescond’s claims that the district court violated his rights to Fifth Amendment due process.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, which is pursuing the case, declined to comment.

“We are very pleased with the court’s decision,” Bescond’s attorney Laurence Shtasel, partner and general counsel for Blank Rome LLP in Philadelphia, told Bloomberg Law.

“We look forward to further proceedings in line with the court ruling,” said Shtasel.

The case is United States v. Sindzingre (Bescond), 2nd Cir., N ° 19-01698, opinion 8/5/21.


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