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Libor rigging City trader's jail term cut

Published 21/12/2015

Tom Hayes became the first person to be convicted by a jury of rigging Libor rates
Tom Hayes became the first person to be convicted by a jury of rigging Libor rates

A City trader who became the first man to be jailed for rigging Libor rates has won a three-year cut in his 14-year jail sentence.

But the Court of Appeal rejected 35-year-old Tom Hayes's appeal against his conviction at Southwark Crown Court in August.

Reducing the sentence to 11 years, Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas said: "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."

After a 47-day trial, Hayes was found guilty of eight counts of conspiracy to defraud covering a period from 2006 to 2010, when he worked for UBS and Citigroup.

He was described by prosecution counsel Mukul Chawla QC as the "ringmaster" at the very centre of an enormous fraud to manipulate the benchmark interest rates and boost his own six-figure earnings.

Today, Lord Thomas, sitting with Sir Brian Leveson and Lady Justice Gloster, said that none of the grounds of appeal on conviction had any merit.

He added that Hayes's criminality, which continued over a very substantial period of time and involved conspiracies with several different parties and different types of market manipulation, was grave.

The sentencing judge correctly set out the high level of culpability, the serious harm caused and the need for deterrence.

He said: "The consideration that called for a deterrent element was not the operation of the Libor market, but the operation of all financial markets.

"Those who act dishonestly in these markets must receive severe sentences to deter others from criminality that is often hard to detect and has such a damaging effect not only on the markets, but more broadly on the general prosperity of the state."

Lord Thomas added that the judge approached his decision on sentence with great care and correctly identified all the relevant factors.

"The culpability was high and the harm serious. A deterrent element was plainly required.

"However, we are of the view that taking into account all the circumstances - in particular his age, his non-managerial position in the two banks, and his mild Asperger's condition - that the overall sentence was longer than was necessary to punish the appellant and to deter others."

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