Professor Alan Riley tells the BBC that British bankers could face prison in the US over Libor charges
Professor Alan Riley appeared on the BBC World Service's Newshour programme to discuss the Libor rate-fixing scandal which has engulfed international banking.
He was invited to comment as Paul Tucker, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, faced questions from the Treasury select committee over claims Barclays was encouraged to manipulate rates. Mr Tucker was questioned about the penalties levied against the bank by authorities in the UK and the US, following an investigation into the submission of various interbank offered rates.
Professor Riley, an expert in Competition Law, told the BBC that the Libor rate is a central function which is used for approximately $400 trillion worth of financial products worldwide. He said it is difficult to under-estimate the potential impact of the Libor scandal on the financial markets:
"Any fixing of the Libor rates is prima facie criminal price-fixing and the United States extra-territorial jurisdiction applies even to price-fixing in London. If price-fixing is proved the US authorities may well seek extradition of executives based in the United Kingdom. Given the effectiveness of the US criminal antitrust regime (in which over 25,000 prison days were handed down in 2009), compared with the failure to secure any home grown price-fixing convictions in the UK under Section 188 of the Enterprise Act 2002 (the Cartel Offence), it is much more likely that US authorities will successfully prosecute bankers than the British authorities".
Listen to Professor Alan Riley's interview on BBC Newshour here.