Libor scandal ‘scapegoat’ hopes to clear name

City trader sentenced to 14 years in prison in connection with Libor rigging scandal hoping hearing will be a watershed in overturning his conviction

‘Ruined’: Tom Hayes spent five years in jail

A City trader sentenced to 14 years in prison in connection with the Libor rigging scandal is hoping a hearing next month will be a watershed in overturning his conviction.

Tom Hayes spent years behind bars – at one stage sharing a cell with a murderer – after becoming the first Briton convicted of fixing Libor rates in 2015.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) argued that Hayes, 43, was the ‘ringmaster’ of an international conspiracy to fix the global benchmark for interest rates. His 14-year sentence was later reduced on appeal to 11 years. He ended up serving five-and-a-half years and claims the experience ruined his life.

Since his release in January 2021, Hayes has been vocal in protesting his innocence and trying to clear his name.

He insists he was a ‘sacrificial lamb’ in a ‘stitch-up between the banks, regulators and the prosecutors’.

A number of bankers have been jailed in the UK since the financial crash, including Hayes. He told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I think all of the traders were scapegoats. We were the collateral damage.’

The Criminal Cases Review Commission – the organisation that examines possible miscarriages of justice – will review his case in a fortnight.

The former UBS and Citigroup trader, who has a young son with his former wife Sarah Tighe, is hopeful that recent legal decisions across the Atlantic will boost his cause.

Last month, a US court cleared bankers Gavin Black and Matthew Connolly, who had been prosecuted over the Libor scandal. The landmark ruling has led to Hayes’ indictment in the US being dismissed. It means interest-rate rigging is no longer regarded as a crime in the US. Hayes said it was ‘ironic’ that he confessed in UK courts to avoid extradition to the US, where his name has since been cleared.

A report by former Magic Circle lawyer Rupert Macey-Dare said the US ruling ‘must surely increase the likelihood’ of Hayes’ conviction being overturned.

The SFO said several Libor convictions have been reviewed by the Court of Appeal ‘and all have been upheld’.