Interest rate rigger Tom Hayes said he was “ecstatic” after criminal charges against him were dropped in the US.
The 43-year-old Briton, who was jailed for 11 years in the UK for rigging the Libor rate while working for UBS, is now calling on UK judges to review his sentence.
Earlier this year, US courts overturned the convictions of two Deutsche Bank traders accused of crimes similar to Hayes.
“Like a dream”: Tom Hayes with his wife Sara and son Joshua
A court ruled that Gavin Black, who worked in the London office, and his New York colleague Matthew Connolly, who were charged in 2016 with wire fraud and bank fraud, should be dismissed after the US government failed to show that any of their actions were “false, fraudulent or misleading.”
This means that the UK is the only country to still brand the bankers involved in the Libor scandal as criminals.
When the US court yesterday announced its decision to dismiss the charges against him, Hayes said: “I am delighted with this decision. I feel almost like I’m in a dream.’
Describing the UK’s position as “demonstrationally absurd”, he added: “The US Department of Justice saw fit to dismiss the charges based on the same facts, evidence and case law used by the UK courts to justify my 11-year prison sentence.
“That alone should be reason enough to send these cases back to the UK Court of Appeal – and, if necessary, to the Supreme Court, which has yet to hear the case.”
Hayes, the father of a child with Asperger’s syndrome, was the first to be convicted by a jury of conspiracy to defraud by fixing the Libor rate in August 2015.
During the trial, he said his colleagues called him Rain Man – a reference to the autistic scientist played by Dustin Hoffman in the 1988 film of the same name – “mainly because I was different” and that he “didn’t get” many of the jokes and all still had a superhero duvet cover at 24.
He was released from prison in 2021 after serving half of his sentence.
But he still maintains his innocence, arguing that his seniors and the Serious Fraud Office made him a scapegoat who wanted to be seen to be doing something when public sentiment turned against bankers after the financial crisis .
Speaking after his release last year, Hayes told the BBC: “At the time it was appropriate for a banker to go to prison for political reasons and I was that banker. I was given an outrageous sentence and my life was destroyed.
“It was not an easy sentence. During that time, I lost my mind, I lost my mental health.
“I suffered from deep bouts of depression. I often had suicidal thoughts.
“I was very angry and bitter. I struggled with my emotions.’
After yesterday’s US decision, he added: “Finally, after ten years, the threat of extradition to the US for legally doing my job as a trader has been lifted. It is time for the UK to test the beliefs of all traders.
“The UK is now the only jurisdiction that considers our behavior to be criminal.”
The Libor affair, which peaked during the 2008-09 crisis, shook financial markets. Hundreds of trillions in financial products, including mortgages and student loans, have been priced based on the rate.
Libor was set by asking 16 banks each day what interest rate they could borrow at and taking the average value.
But Hayes and other bankers have been accused of submitting “high” or “low” estimates according to their employers’ occupations.
Banks around the world were fined more than £7bn for their part in the “manipulation” and nine people were jailed in the UK for a total of more than 50 years.
In January 2015, during the Hayes case, Lord Justice Davies said it was “self-evident” that traders’ highball or lowball offers contravened the rules of the Libor system – despite the fact that there were no written rules about this when the bids were made. were made.
Libor, now discredited, has been largely stopped – but Hayes wants his name cleared.
He asked the UK’s Criminal Justice Review Commission (CCRC), which investigates miscarriages of justice, to refer his case back to the Court of Appeal. Her final decision is inevitable.
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