City trader jailed for Libor rigging freed after five years

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Tom Hayes hopes to rebuild his life and family after ‘traumatic’ time in custody.

Tom Hayes, the City trader jailed for manipulating Libor interest rates, has been released from prison after serving what he called a “traumatic” five and a half years in custody.

The former star UBS and Citigroup trader was the first person to be convicted by a jury of rigging the financial industry benchmark and was released after serving half of his 11-year sentence.

During his trial Hayes was described as the ringleader in a vast conspiracy to fix the Libor rate – used to price trillions of pounds worth of financial products – between 2006 and 2010.

A gifted mathematician who was diagnosed with mild Asperger’s syndrome shortly before his trial, Hayes was charged by both UK and US prosecutors.

He earned millions of pounds for his work as a trader, but claimed during his trial that he was taking part in an “industry-wide” practice. He was convicted of eight counts of conspiracy to defraud.

“Today I begin the process of rebuilding my life and my shattered relationship with my son, Joshua,” Hayes told reporters.

He was met by his wife and child following his release from HMP Ford, an open prison in Arundel on England’s south coast.

“After a traumatic five and a half years in custody and two and a half years of bail, my eight-year ordeal in the UK is almost over,” he said, adding: “I’m going to enjoy my first doner kebab in a long time.”

Since his conviction in August 2015 Hayes has maintained his innocence, and has accused the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), of making him a scapegoat.

He continues to try to clear his name and have his conviction overturned through an appeal to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which investigates suspected miscarriages of justice.

Hayes’ lawyer, Karen Todner – who led Gary McKinnon’s case against extradition to the US on charges of computer hacking – said Hayes had been made a “scapegoat with a disability” for more senior executives. She also called on the CCRC to respond more quickly to applications.

His previous attempts to have his conviction overturned failed, although his sentence was reduced from an initial 14 years to 11.

Other traders were convicted of Libor manipulation after Hayes, including a group of four Barclays traders.

Following a string of scandals and fines totalling billions for banks that manipulated the rate, the FCA decided in 2017 to phase out Libor, and the index will stop being used this year.

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