Levine Lee News

Levine Lee LLP Secures Judgment of Acquittal for Gavin Black in LIBOR Case

After more than five years of litigation, Levine Lee LLP secured a complete acquittal for our client Gavin Black, a former Deutsche Bank derivatives trader. As part of the massive investigation into alleged manipulation of LIBOR, the Justice Department’s Fraud Section criminally charged Gavin Black in the Southern District of New York. On January 27, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit accepted Levine Lee’s long-standing argument that Mr. Black committed no crime because his conduct did not violate the rules governing LIBOR.

Specifically, the Court held that the evidence against Mr. Black was insufficient because the government failed to prove the essence of the alleged crime, namely, that Mr. Black or others made any false statements in connection with submission of LIBOR. The Court’s decision not only completely vindicated Mr. Black, but it rejected the government’s theory of LIBOR manipulation as being inconsistent with the LIBOR rules. As a result, the Court ordered that a judgment of acquittal be entered for Mr. Black. Click here to view the opinion and here to read “How Manhattan Boutique Levine Lee Unraveled the Government’s Final LIBOR Conviction,” a feature from The American Lawyer Litigation Daily on Levine Lee’s work.

Levine Lee fought for Mr. Black’s innocence for years, even after his former employer and some of his former colleagues admitted guilt based on conduct that the Court of Appeals has now found was not a crime. This ruling follows another precedential ruling in this matter in which Levine Lee established, for the first time, that the actions of corporate counsel in conducting corporate investigations under the government’s direction constitute governmental action and are thus subject to Constitutional scrutiny—a ruling that has altered the manner in which corporate investigations are conducted.

Seth L. Levine and Scott B. Klugman led the Levine Lee team on this matter, and Mr. Levine argued the case before the Court of Appeals presenting the key argument to the Court. You can listen to Mr. Levine’s oral argument here: https://tinyurl.com/ystdvy8u. Also participating in the defense of Mr. Black were Chad Albert; former Levine Lee attorneys Miriam Alinikoff, Dylan Stern and Ellen Sise (all now serving as federal prosecutors); and UK solicitors Jonathan Brogden and John Bramhall of DAC Beachcroft. Mr. Black’s co-defendant, Matthew Connolly, was represented by Ken Breen and Phara Guberman of Paul Hastings LLP.

The decision was covered extensively in publications worldwide, including in the following selected press discussions: Bloomberg, “Ex-Deutsche Bank Traders’ Libor Convictions Tossed on Appeal”; Wall Street Journal, “All US Trial Convictions in Crisis Era Libor Rigging Have Now Been Overturned”; New York Times, “Two Former Deutsche Bank Traders Win Their Appeal in a Libor Manipulation Case”; Financial Times, “Ex-Deutsche Bank Traders Have Libor-Rigging Convictions Overturned”

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