Libor rigger Hayes jailed for 14 years

Verdict marks end of first criminal case against an individual in the scandal

tom-hayes
Tom Hayes and wife Sarah arrive at court on the morning of his conviction for fraud after a 10-week trial

Updates with sentencing, comments from judge and defence, background

Tom Hayes, a former UBS and Citi trader, was sentenced to 14 years in jail today (August 3) after a London jury found him guilty of all eight charges of conspiracy to defraud between 2006 and 2010 in the Libor-rigging scandal.

Today's verdict and sentencing bring to a close the first criminal case against an individual related to the manipulation of the benchmark interest rate, linked to the pricing of hundreds of trillions of dollars' worth of financial products such as loans and mortgages around the world.

Six banks have already admitted rigging Libor and paid settlements of about $6.5 billion to regulators, while a number of other individuals face criminal proceedings or are being investigated.

"The conduct involved here is to be marked out as dishonest and wrong. And a message needs to be sent to the world of banking accordingly," the judge, Jeremy Cooke, told Hayes during sentencing. "What this case has shown is the absence of that integrity which ought to characterise banking."

Hayes's defence lawyer Neil Hawes urged the judge to "balance" Hayes's actions against the broader backdrop of how Libor was seen at the time, when it was an unregulated product. "The conduct Mr Hayes is being convicted of was prevalent for at least five years prior to [the] commencement of his activities."

But Cooke said "the fact that others were doing it is no excuse" and neither was the fact that his senior managers condoned and encouraged it. "The offences were thought-through and regular," he told Hayes today. "In short, these are offences of high culpability." 

Libor trial: previous coverage
Day-by-day coverage of Tom Hayes Libor trial

Throughout the trial, which began on May 26, the prosecution argued that Hayes colluded with a number of individuals at banks and brokers to manipulate the Japanese yen Libor rate, which ultimately benefited his trading book at the expense of counterparties.

Hayes, a 35-year-old British national, worked at the Tokyo office of UBS from September 2006 to mid-2009. He was then poached by Citi in December 2009 and began trading in the US bank's Tokyo office in February 2010. He was dismissed in September 2010 following an internal investigation into his activities around Libor.

Following his arrest in December 2012, Hayes spent five months being interviewed by the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO), admitting dishonesty, and was subsequently charged in June 2013.

But he told the court on the witness stand that he only did so to avoid extradition to the US, where he had been indicted for similar criminal offences. Hayes withdrew from a co-operation agreement with the SFO and in December 2013 pleaded not guilty. However, Cooke said he did not use the withdrawal to lengthen Hayes's sentence.

During the 10-week trial the court heard excerpts from telephone conversations and transcripts of electronic chats between Hayes, his colleagues at UBS and Citi and traders from other banks, as well as brokers, whom the prosecution says he regularly rewarded for their help influencing various submitters at other banks.

Mukul Chawla, the lawyer representing the prosecution, had previously said the case was "about the dishonest rigging of bank rates for profit". He said Hayes was "driven by greed" and called him the "ringmaster at the very centre, telling others around him what to do and in a number of cases rewarding them for their dishonest assistance".

Chawla drew attention to a "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" mentality that led to interest rates that had "nothing to do with borrowing rates and all to do with Mr Hayes's trading position".

Hayes, meanwhile, claimed throughout the trial that his tactics were well-known to his senior managers and the practice of seeking to influence Libor submitters was widespread across the industry. He maintained that he was not dishonest in his actions but simply "doing his job", and that his requests for higher or lower rates were always within a "permissible range" and were therefore in line with the definition of Libor. He has also claimed that he never had any regulatory or compliance obligations regarding Libor at either Citi or UBS.

A full review of the trial and its implications for banking conduct will be published later this week

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