Hayes Libor Tactics Hit Resistance at Citigroup, Prosecutors Say

When Thomas Hayes joined Citigroup Inc. in Tokyo in 2009, he expected to be able to influence Libor just like he’d done at UBS Group AG, according to evidence at a London criminal trial.

Instead, he was met by a brick wall of resistance from the individuals responsible for setting the benchmark at the U.S. bank, according to internal messages shown to jurors by prosecutors.

Hayes, the first person to stand trial for rigging the London interbank offered rate, joined Citigroup as a senior yen derivatives trader in December 2009 after more than three years at UBS. Within days of his arrival at Citigroup, the bank’s treasury desk in London made their stance known.

“The rules around rate-setting are strict,” Citigroup manager Andrew Thursfield wrote in an e-mail to Hayes’s bosses after they suggested the new recruit could offer insight into where Libor might be set. “Any recommendations or suggestions on where rates should be set must be disregarded.”

Hayes was dismissed from Citigroup in September 2010, 10 months after joining the New York-based bank. The 35-year-old is accused of eight counts of conspiracy to manipulate Libor, a benchmark for financial products worldwide.

On a call a month after Hayes started trading at Citigroup in February 2010, the British trader was rebuffed by the yen rate-setters in London.

“We won’t look at individual positions,” the yen rate-setter said after Hayes suggested he would contact them from time to time for assistance.

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