Tom Hayes Libor Jail Sentence Cut to 11 Years, Conviction Upheld

Tom Hayes, the former UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. trader found guilty of manipulating Libor, had his sentence cut by three years to 11 years by a London appeals court.

A panel of three of the U.K.’s most senior judges reduced the 14 year-sentence, one of the country’s longest for a non-violent criminal, following a two-day hearing. The court upheld Hayes’s conviction for conspiracy to defraud.

“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,” the judges said in a written statement.

Hayes, referred to by colleagues as “Rain Man,” was the first individual to face trial for rigging the London interbank offered rate since investigators started probing the benchmark seven years ago. He was accused of masterminding an elaborate four-year campaign to rig the yen variant of Libor that involved more than 20 individuals at half a dozen firms in three countries.

Socially awkward but highly gifted, Hayes became the public face of a scandal that brought the reputation of the banking industry to a low ebb. A dozen banks and brokerages have been fined about $9 billion for the activities and similar abuses by regulators around the world.

Eight Counts

Hayes was found guilty of eight counts of conspiracy to defraud and sentenced to prison in August. Lawyers for the 36-year-old former derivatives trader had argued that the trial judge had improperly instructed jurors to ignore the conduct of other bankers in regard to Libor and had refused to allow potentially exculpatory evidence.

That position was rejected by a three-judge appellate panel led by Lord Chief Justice John Thomas at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

“There is no authority for the proposition that objective standards of honesty are to be set by a market” and “such a principle would gravely affect the proper conduct of business,” the judges said.

The outcome of the appeal will be being closely watched by the more than a dozen individuals scheduled to stand trial for manipulating the $350 trillion benchmark over the coming months.

@bloomberg.com – Tom Hayes Libor Jail Sentence Cut to 11 Years, Conviction Upheld