US court throws out charges against Libor city trader Tom Hayes

Former UBS trader has been fighting for a decade to get interest rate rigging allegations overturned

Former trader Tom Hayes, pictured with his wife Sarah, has had charges of conspiracy to rig Libor thrown out by a US court. Reuters
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A US court has thrown out charges against former UBS and Citigroup trader Tom Hayes who was jailed for conspiring to rig the Libor benchmark, which sets interest rates globally.

Mr Hayes, who was the first of 38 people to be prosecuted, was charged in the US in 2012 and tried in London in 2015. He was sentenced to 11 years.

He was released in January and has been fighting to clear his name in both the UK and the US.

On Monday, a New York judge threw out the case against him.

It followed a similar decision by the US federal appeals court in January to overturn the convictions of two former Deutsche Bank traders who were charged with an alleged scheme to rig Libor.

"I'm ecstatic to get this decision. It feels almost like I'm in a dream," Mr Hayes told the BBC on Monday.

"After years of tireless work by my solicitor Karen Todner, the Department of Justice in the US have now dismissed my charges in their entirety, acknowledging the flawed legal theory pursued in the cases of so called Libor 'rigging'.

"I am pleased to end the 10-year international pursuit of my legal activity. It is now time for the UK to examine the convictions of all traders. It is now the sole jurisdiction that deems the conduct criminal."

His case was dismissed in the US after a Second US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the government had “failed to show that any of the trader-influenced submissions were false, fraudulent, or misleading”.

Prosecutors said the reversal was down to the government's ability to prove its case.

In the case, Mr Hayes and others had been accused of using the Libor index, which sets interest rates on loans globally, to suit their bank's trades.

He was accused of influencing other traders and brokers to manipulate Libor – the London Interbank Offered Rate – which is used as a benchmark for $450 trillion in financial contracts worldwide.

However, he has successfully argued in the US that because there was no rule against the traders' requests, the case should be dismissed.

Mr Hayes is still awaiting a decision from the UK's Criminal Cases Review Commission, which investigates potential miscarriages of justice.

Updated: October 31, 2022, 12:27 PM