Tom Hayes, a former yen derivatives trader at UBS Group, was convicted to 14 years in prison in connection with the Libor rigging case. He was the first person convicted by a jury for manipulating the global benchmark.
The Serious Fraud Office of the United Kingdom accused Mr. Hayes as the ringleader of more than a dozen traders manipulating the Libor. Mr. Hayes is a mildly autistic mathematician and was given the nickname “Rain Man” by his colleagues. The jury convicted Mr. Hayes of eight counts of conspiracy to defraud.
The reputation of the Libor was jeopardized
Southwark Crown Court Judge Jeremy Cooke emphasized, “The reputation of Libor is important to the city as a financial sector and the banking institutions of the city.
Judge Cooke told Mr. Hayes that his conduct was “dishonest and wrong.” He said, “Probity and honesty are essential as is trust. The Libor activity of which you played a leading part put all that in jeopardy.”
The reputation of some of the world’s largest banks including Barclays, Deutsche Bank, UBS, and the Royal Bank of Scotland were damaged by the Libor rigging scandal.
The Serious Fraud Office alleged that Mr. Hayes manipulated the Libor from 2006 to 2010. He was working in Tokyo when he committed his wrongdoing. The agency filed a case against him in June 2013.
Prosecuting entities involved in manipulating the Libor is a top priority for the Serious Fraud Office. Mr. Hayes’ conviction is a major victory for the agency.
Fixing Libor is a blatant and widespread practice
The evidence against Mr. Hayes included 82 hours of voluntary testimony provided to the agency. According to the agency, Mr. Hayes confessed that he manipulated the Libor and testified against former colleagues and friends including his half-brother.
The lawyers representing Mr. Hayes argued that he did not try to conceal his activities because he did not believe that his conduct was dishonest.
“I was very, very, very open, very transparent. All my managers knew. I had no reason to think that it was wrong,” said Mr. Hayes during a trial last month.
He told authorities that Libor rigging was a “blatant” and “widespread” practice in the industry. A trial on the Libor case against other former traders who conspired with Mr. Hayes is scheduled in September.