Westpac trader Sophie Johnston leaves the Federal Court in Melbourne. Picture: Stuart McEvoy/The Australian
Westpac trader Sophie Johnston leaves the Federal Court in Melbourne. Picture: Stuart McEvoy/The Australian

'Lesbian threesome' and 'deads--- scum' part of Westpac chat

WESTPAC traders discussed lesbian threesomes, "f***ing" the interest rate market and "deads*** scum" at rival banks in expletive-laden conversations, phone transcripts reveal.

The transcripts, reported by The Australian, formed part of the six-week trial which ended last week, in which the corporate regulator accused the bank of rigging interest rates on 16 occasions between 2010 and 2012.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission alleged Westpac engaged in market manipulation by trading in a manner intended to create an artificial price for bank bills.

The bank bill swap reference rate (BBSW) is the primary interest rate benchmark used in Australian financial markets.

On the occasions in question, Westpac was alleged to have had a large number of products which were priced or valued off the BBSW, and that it traded in the bank bill market in order to move the BBSW higher or lower.

The goal, according to ASIC, was to maximise the bank's profit or minimise its loss, to the detriment of those holding opposite positions to Westpac's.

In one daily catch-up phone call between Colin "The Rat" Roden and Sophie "The Perfumed Steamroller" Johnston, Mr Roden hailed the "bloody awesome" BBSW result, slammed the "f***in' deads***s" at NAB, and encouraged Ms Johnston to have a lesbian threesome.

"I had dinner with my friend and one of her other friends last night," Ms Johnston said. "Did the friend give you the kiss on both lips or just the big [one] on both cheeks or the big one on the lips?" Mr Roden asked.

Ms Johnston said she was "of that persuasion but it's only a friend", with Mr Roden then suggesting she take the woman on holidays to Prague. "It's pretty romantic so maybe it's a good idea to go to Prague with your, with your lady friend right," he said. "Cause anything can happen."

In another phone call, as the traders awaited the Reserve Bank's interest rate decision after a big day of trading, Mr Roden told Ms Johnston "we'll find out very shortly whether or not we win the lottery".

After the RBA kept the cash rate on hold, he said, "We made about 12 million bucks today ... that's what you'd call a good day."

A judgement in the case is not expected until the new year. ANZ and NAB were hit with similar legal action for alleged BBSW rate rigging last year, but both opted to settle rather than bring the case to trial, each paying $50 million.


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