“Old school” bank boss hit employee with baseball bat

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A former trader who is accused of manipulating rates has told a jury that he was routinely the victim of humiliating treatment by his old-school boss – including being hit with a miniature baseball bat.

Jonathan Mathew, one of five former Barclays Plc employees accused of manipulating Libor, told a London jury that he was regularly punished when he made mistakes working on the money markets desk.

Libor is a benchmark rate that some of the world's leading banks charge each other for short-term loans – it stands for Intercontinental Exchange London Interbank Offered Rate and serves as the first step to calculating interest rates on various loans throughout the world.

Mathew – who is partially deaf and was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child – said on his first day of testimony that he was hit on the back of the head with a 12-inch baseball bat, shouted at and forced to stand on a chair in the trading room to answer a quiz on world capitals by his boss, Peter Johnson.

“It wasn’t particularly hard, it was more designed to humiliate me," the 35-year-old trader said of Johnson. "He was old school, a hard taskmaster and in the same respect he was a good teacher as well." 
In one 2006 e-mail shown to jurors, Johnson said Mathew needed to “have a modicum of common sense and show that you are actually taking things into your thick skull.”

Mathew, who admitted his dad got him his first job at Barclays, began his career on the money markets desk managing Libor trades linked to the Canadian dollar – he claimed that he received no formal training but simply learned on the job from Johnson “explaining things to me, copying what he was doing, taking notes.”

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