City trader Tom Hayes, 35, was jailed for 14 years on Monday over the rigging of Libor rates after being found guilty of eight charges of conspiracy to defraud.
Mr Justice Cooke passed the verdict, stating: “What this case has shown is the absence of that integrity which ought to characterise banking. You, as a regulated banker, succumbed to temptation in an unregulated activity because you could.”
Libor is a key global interest rate that is used as a benchmark for financial deals worth a total estimated $450 trillion.
Heavy fines have been placed on a number of the world’s leading banks for tampering with the rate, but Hayes is the first to be handed a jail sentence.
Hayes worked at UBS for three years and Citigroup for nine months, where he was paid £1.3m and £3.5m respectively. It was at Citigroup in September 2010 where he was fired over allegations of manipulating the Libor rate.
After initially pleading guilty to the charges brought to him by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Hayes later reversed his plea claiming to have been “frozen with fear” at the prospect of extradition to the US and potential jail time and so wanted to cooperate with the authorities.
He instead opted to challenge the legal proceedings brought against him and presented himself as someone who admitted wrongdoing but within the wider context of systemic Libor manipulation. Offering a “Mars bar” would have been enough to have it “set wherever you want,” he said during the trial.
Hayes also noted that he “acted with complete transparency to my employers,” adding: “My managers knew, my manager's manager knew. In some cases the CEO was aware of it.”
The banker also claimed his recently diagnosed and “mild” form of Asperger’s syndrome hindered his ability to make the correct ethical decision.
Eleven others have been charged by the SFO.