Lawrence Graham scoops magic circle in BBA Libor probe

Lawrence Graham has scooped the magic circle to lead an independent investigation into Libor for the British Banking Association (BBA).

The team is headed by employment partner Helga Breen, white collar crime and fraud partner Eoin O’Shea and partner Richard Everett, a financial services regulation specialist.

BBA has turned to a number of the bigger City firms in the past including Clifford Chance, DLA Piper and MacFarlanes.

But in a huge coup for the firm, a nine-strong LG team will conduct the probe using a spread of expertise from across different sectors.

The Lawyer understands the BBA wanted a totally independent investigation on the back of evidence from the Treasury Select Committee and reports from the FSA, US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the US Department of Justice.

Many of the Magic and Silver Circle firms are instructed for the banks who face ongoing Libor investigations of their own (10 July 2012).

LG has not been given a timescale to complete the investigation, but the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards will look to make recommendations on professional standards and culture of the UK banking sector by 18 December 2012, before the Banking Reform Bill is published (23 July 2012).

The investigation will look at how the Libor process was abused by banks and the future of the current process.

The BBA instructed Clifford Chance four years ago on its review of how Libor was governed, with London derivatives, capital markets and financial markets partner Habib Motani leading the team (18 August 2008).

The BBA currently oversees the setting of Libor, although one of the changes in the wake of the latest scandal could see the Government take on the responsibility of regulating the process.

A BBA statement confirmed: “The BBA decided to commission an independent investigation into BBA Libor Ltd in connection with both recent reports by the Financial Services Authority, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the US Department of Justice arising from attempted manipulation and false reporting of LIBOR and the reviews of LIBOR to be conducted by Martin Wheatley of the Financial Services Authority and the Joint Parliamentary Review of LIBOR to be conducted by Andrew Tyrie.

“The independent investigation is being conducted by the law firm Lawrence Graham LLP for the purpose of advising the BBA.”

The instruction will be a big morale boost for LG after it reported a fall in profits and tumbling PEP for 2011-12 (25 July 2012).