Leave Sympathy Aside for Brokers in Libor Case, Prosecutor Says

  • SFO begins closing arguments in three-month-old Libor trial
  • Jurors don't need finance background to understand charges

Jurors in the case of six former brokers accused of helping Tom Hayes rig Libor were told to disregard any sympathy they may have for the defendants as prosecutors wrapped up their arguments in the three-month-old trial.

A "cold, dispassionate review of the evidence" made it clear that the men were all willing participants in Hayes’s conspiracy, Serious Fraud Office prosecutor Mukul Chawla said as he began closing arguments in London Monday. "You don’t need to be part of the financial community to understand it."

The case has been subject to delays after one of the defendants -- former ICAP Plc manager Danny Wilkinson -- fell ill and was admitted to a hospital last week. The 49-year-old Wilkinson was absent from the proceedings, but may be back in the coming days, Chawla told the jurors. His lawyers were in court.

Wilkinson and the five other British men, from Tullett Prebon Plc and RP Martin Holdings Ltd. as well as ICAP, are accused of helping Hayes nudge the yen variant of the London interbank offered rate up and down almost daily by deceiving banking clients about the state of the market, or leaning on them for favors. In exchange they were collectively paid hundreds of thousands of pounds in kickbacks, prosecutors claim.

Five of the men claim they never participated in the scheme at all, only fobbed Hayes off without following through. Only Terry Farr, a former broker from RP Martin, acknowledges that he sought to help Hayes. His lawyers argue that he didn’t know his actions were dishonest because he didn’t understand derivatives and had only a rudimentary understanding of finance.

Claiming ignorance was "the only way Farr can avoid confessing that he acted dishonestly," Chawla told jurors.

Hayes was a highly-regarded, but emotionally volatile derivatives trader at UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. who made more than $300 million for his employers between 2006 and 2010. He was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in jail in August 2015 for masterminding a campaign to rig Libor . The sentence was cut to 11 years after an appeal.

Chawla is expected to wrap up his closing remarks later this week, after which lawyers for the defendants will summarize their cases. The jury could be sent away to consider a verdict within two weeks, Chawla said.

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