By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) -A U.S. judge on Friday threw out a former Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB) trader’s conviction for conspiring to manipulate the global lending benchmark Libor, after an appeals court tossed the convictions of two former colleagues he testified against.
U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer in Manhattan granted Timothy Parietti’s request to void his guilty plea and judgment of conviction, and have the government return his $1 million fine, saying it served the “interests of justice.”
Prosecutors did not oppose the request. Parietti, 56, had also been sentenced to three years of supervised release, and has completed that sentence.
The former managing director of Deutsche Bank (ETR:DBKGn)’s New York money market derivatives trading desk had pleaded guilty in May 2016 to conspiring to commit wire and bank fraud.
Prosecutors said Parietti manipulated Libor, short for London Interbank Offered Rate, from 2006 to 2008 in order to boost profit on his own trades.
Court papers say Parietti later provided “substantial” cooperation that helped convict former Deutsche Bank traders Matthew Connolly and Gavin Black in October 2018 for rigging Libor.
But in January, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan threw out those convictions because of a lack of evidence.
Engelmayer said that meant there was also a lack of evidence to support Parietti’s guilty plea.
He added that the plea has kept Parietti from reentering the financial services industry, and deprived him of the right to vote and other rights in Florida, where he now lives.
“Parietti must be viewed as innocent,” Engelmayer wrote. “Under first principles of justice, it would be unjust to maintain his conviction.”
Larry Krantz, a lawyer for Parietti, said: “Mr. Parietti is grateful that justice has been done.”
Before being phased out in January, Libor had once underpinned more than $300 trillion of financial products including credit cards, mortgages and other loans.
Libor-rigging probes ended in about $9 billion of fines worldwide for banks, including $2.5 billion for Deutsche Bank https://www.reuters.com/article/us-deutschebank-libor-settlement/deutsche-bank-fined-record-2-5-billion-over-rate-rigging-idUSKBN0NE12U20150423, accused of fixing the benchmark to boost profit.
The case is U.S. v. Parietti, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-cr-00373.