Wall Street Journal overturns gagging order on naming 22 bankers in Libor rate-fixing indictment

The Wall Street Journal Europe yesterday overturned an injunction which had prevented it from naming 22 individuals named in an investigation relating to fixing of the Libor inter-bank lending rate.

The story was first published last Thursday and was based on a draft indictment which named 22 individuals.

Mr Justice Cooke brought an interim injunction against the news organisation forcing it to take the article down. But yesterday, the WSJ successfully challenged the order allowing it reinstate the article on its website.

The story now carries an editor’s note saying: “This article was originally published on October 17 and was removed from WSJ.com later that day to comply with a court order issued by an English judge.

"The article has been republished after the judge allowed the order to expire without renewal on October 21.

"Prosecutors had planned to publicly name nearly two dozen brokers and traders they believe were involved in a plot to manipulate benchmark interest rates in indictments against three defendants.

"In a court hearing on October 21, the judge agreed to demands by lawyers representing the alleged co-conspirators to withhold the names of alleged co-conspirators from two of the indictments, which had still been in draft form.

"The other defendant's indictment, however, contains some of the alleged co-conspirators related to his charges."

A court heard confirmation yesterday  that authorities trying to unravel allegations of Libor rate-rigging centred on former trader Tom Hayes have written to 22 individuals to tell them they are under investigation.

The Serious Fraud Office contacted the individuals last month, after Hayes was arrested last year, to tell them that the part they might have played in the alleged conspiracy was being scrutinised.

None has been charged and many have not been interviewed, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.

Hayes, 34, a former UBS and Citigroup trader, of Woldingham, Surrey, appeared alongside Terry Farr, 42, of Great Wakering, Essex, and James Gilmour, 48, of Benfleet, Essex. They are not expected to face trial until 2015.

Mr Justice Cooke lifted reporting restrictions when all three men appeared in court. No pleas were entered and a further hearing will take place on a date to be fixed later this year.

The judge lifted an injunction against the Wall Street Journal which was put in place last week, but agreed to the men's names being removed from the indictment.

He stressed during yesterday’s hearing that the fact that individuals were named on the draft indictment did not mean that they were suspected of wrongdoing.

The Wall Street Journal said: “We are delighted that the temporary injunction has not been renewed. This represents a victory for all media organisations operating in England and Wales, many of whom supported us in this effort. We will be re-posting the previously published story to WSJ.com, and remain fully committed to pursuing the aggressive, informative and independent journalism for which we are known.”

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