Hayes Seeks to Appeal 14-Year Prison Term, Libor Conviction

  • Hayes filed request with court Sept. 1 seeking permission
  • `Ringmaster' of Libor rigging first imprisoned in scandal

Tom Hayes, the former UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. trader sentenced to 14 years in a U.K. prison over his role in rigging Libor, began a counter-offensive seeking to appeal both his conviction and sentence.

Hayes asked a London court Sept. 1 for permission to appeal, a court clerk said Monday. A judge will review the case and decide whether he can pursue the challenge, in a ruling that may not come for months.

Hayes was convicted in August for conspiring to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, after a London jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on all eight charges. He is the first person to be imprisoned for rigging the interest-rate benchmark used to value more than $350 trillion of loans and securities. Eleven others await trials beginning next month.

“It’s not a surprise that Mr. Hayes is appealing the sentence given its surprising length,” said Stephen Pollard, a London-based lawyer at WilmerHale. “The Court of Appeal may embrace the opportunity to clarify sentencing parameters for these kinds of cases because there are fewer.”

Ringmaster

Prosecutors said during the nine-week trial that Hayes was the “ringmaster” of a global network of 25 traders and brokers from at least 10 firms who tried to manipulate Libor on an industrial scale. He would bribe, bully, cajole and reward his contacts for their help in skewing the benchmark, they said.

Hayes was sentenced the same day he was convicted and taken to HM Prison Wandsworth, a Victorian fortress south of the Thames known for poor conditions and violent inmates. The length of his sentence was viewed by some as an indication of the new attitude toward white-collar crime after numerous scandals tainted the reputation of London’s financial markets.

Magnus Peterson, founder of collapsed hedge fund Weavering Capital (UK) Ltd., was sentenced to a 13-year term after being convicted of fraud in January. Former UBS trader Kweku Adoboli was sentenced to a 7-year term in jail for fraud in 2012.

“Probity and honesty are essential, as is trust,” Judge Jeremy Cooke said in handing down Hayes’s sentence. He added that “the Libor activities of which you took part in put that in jeopardy.”

“A message needs to be sent to the world of banking,” Cooke said.

A spokeswoman for the U.K. Serious Fraud Office, which prosecuted the case, declined to comment. Hayes’s law firm Cartwright King declined to comment on all stories regarding the case.

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