Freshfields, MoFo join Libor line-up with key banking inquiry roles

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) have become the latest law firms to pick up advisory roles related to the Libor scandal, with Freshfields acting for the Bank of England (BoE) and MoFo taking the lead for former Barclays COO Jerry del Missier.

Freshfields dispute resolution partner Ian Taylor is leading the team acting for the magic circle firm’s institutional client, which this week saw its governor Sir Mervyn King appear before the Treasury Select Committee to face questions over the rate-fixing scandal.

Freshfields’ longstanding relationship with the bank has led to a raft of key mandates in recent years, such as the £50bn liquidity support programme for the UK lending market in 2008, while the ties were further cemented when Freshfields veteran M&A partner Graham Nicholson left to take up the role of chief legal adviser at the bank in January 2009, a role he still holds.

Meanwhile, Del Missier has hired a team of MoFo lawyers to represent him in connection with investigations in both the US and UK into allegations of Libor rate-fixing at Barclays.

Del Missier, who quit his Barclays post earlier this month, appeared before the select committee this Monday (16 July). With him during his testimony were MoFo New York litigation partners Carl Loewenson and James Hough, as well as London-based regulatory partner Kevin Roberts.

Del Missier, who has been at the centre of the scandal from the start, has maintained that his actions were the result of a misinterpretation of a 2008 email from Diamond regarding a conversation the then-chief executive had with BoE deputy governor Paul Tucker.

Other law firms with roles relating to the ongoing scandal include Sullivan & Cromwell, Clifford Chance, Norton Rose and Dechert, with the latter duo advising former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond.

Barclays last month paid around $450m (£290m) to settle US and UK charges that the bank attempted to manipulate interest rates and made false reports to benefit its derivatives trading positions.