Guilty Libor trader’s sentence cut to 11 years on appeal

Tom Hayes, a former yen derivatives trader at UBS and Citigroup, was told his sentence was “longer than necessary” as his jail term was reduced from 14 years, a tariff that caused shockwaves in the City when he was convicted in August, reports The Times.

Dismissing Hayes’s attempt to appeal his conviction for conspiracy to defraud, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice, said none of the grounds put forward by his legal team to challenge the original verdict had “any merit”.

However, Lord Thomas agreed there were grounds to shorten Hayes’s sentence, handing him a reduced eight-year sentence on the first four counts of conspiracy to defraud from an original term of nine and a half years, while a second concurrent sentence of four and a half a years was cut to three.

“This court must make clear to all in the financial and other markets in the City of London that conduct of this type, involving fraudulent manipulation of the markets, will result in severe sentences of considerable length which, depending on the circumstances, may be significantly greater than the present total sentence,” said the Court of Appeal.

Hayes is the first trader to be convicted by a jury over interest rate manipulation and was found guilty of eight counts of conspiracy to defraud following a three-month trial this year when he argued that his activities had been condoned by senior managers at the banks he worked for.

Responding to the failure of his appeal, Hayes said he was “immensely disappointed” but was “grateful” for the court’s decision to reduce his overall sentence.

“The prosecution process has been ongoing for several years and has had a profoundly negative impact on my family and I, but I am grateful that the period of separation we will have to endure has been reduced somewhat,” he said in a statement.

Hayes maintained that he was innocent and said he had “never asked for a dishonest or inaccurate Libor rate to be submitted”. He added: “I look forward to pursuing every avenue available to me to clear my name.”

The Serious Fraud Office led the prosecution of Hayes and had secured his co-operation in return for a pledge to plead guilty. However, when US prosecutors dropped their attempt to extradite him after he was charged in the UK, he changed his plea.

In his defence, Hayes said he had only admitted to wrongdoing during 82 hours of interview with SFO officials to ensure he was charged by the British authorities as he feared going to the US where sentences for financial crimes can be far longer.

“Those watching hopefully from the Square Mile will no doubt be disheartened by the result. Eleven years is still a substantial sentence for a financial crime,” said Ben Rose, founding partner of Hickman & Rose, the law firm.