The following is another excellent excerpt from the cover of the September 21 – September 27, 2015 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek on page 54 written by Liam Vaughan and Gavin Finch titled “Was Tom Hayes in Charge of a $350 Trillion Conspiracy? Or Just Taking the Fall For One” and online titled “Was Tom Hayes Running the Biggest Conspiracy in History?” and I quote:
“On May 26, 2015, seven years after investigations began, the first individual to face trial for rigging Libor walked nervously past a packed gallery and took his seat in Court Two of Southwark Crown Court, an austere brown-brick cube on the bank of the River Thames. Dressed in chinos, a black sweater, and wearing no tie, his blond hair atypically neat, Hayes looked meek—and not at all like the aggressive bully the prosecution wanted to portray. His mother looked on from a reserved seat among the press pack.
The jury, seven men and five women, was told about Hayes’s Asperger’s diagnosis early in the proceedings. The disorder didn’t affect his ability to distinguish between honest and dishonest acts, the judge said, but might help explain the brusque nature of his answers. Because of his condition, Hayes was allowed to sit behind a desk with his legal team rather than alone in the dock, an enclosed glass box in the center of the courtroom. Next to him throughout the trial was an intermediary whose role was to monitor Hayes for signs of stress and who would mouth “calm down” when he became irate, which often included shaking his head wildly and scribbling notes to his lawyers.
The SFO’s chief prosecutor, Mukul Chawla, an amiable bear of a man in a black robe, with a mane of silver hair and an e-cigarette he chugged on during breaks, presented the case against Hayes in measured tones. “You may think, having heard the evidence, that here the motive was a simple one,” Chawla said during his opening. “It was greed. Mr. Hayes’s desire was to earn and to make as much money as he could. The more that he earned for his employers, the more they would value his services and inevitably, he hoped, the more that they would pay him.”
There was no disputing what Hayes had done, but to get convictions, Chawla needed to demonstrate that he knew what he was doing was dishonest. The prosecutor’s greatest weapons were the trader’s own words.
“I knew that, you know, I probably shouldn’t do it,” Hayes said in one 2013 interview with the SFO, played at high enough volume through the court’s speakers that they started to distort. “But, like I said, I was participating in an industrywide practice that predated my arrival at UBS and postdated my departure.”
When it was Hayes’s turn on the stand, he disavowed the SFO interviews, claiming he’d exaggerated his culpability to make sure he would be charged in the U.K. During two weeks of testimony, Hayes argued that he wasn’t dishonest because the practice of trying to influence Libor was so common across the industry he had no idea it was wrong. His counsel backed up his claims with documents showing managers at UBS encouraging his behavior, and the BBA sanctioning lowballing during the crisis.
At one point Hayes broke down in tears. “I don’t think I’ve done anything,” he said, looking to his wife in the gallery, her blonde hair tied neatly back and her hands clasped in her lap. She nodded back in support.
When the prosecution played audio clips of Hayes joking around with his contacts in the market, he looked down and smiled to himself, caught up in the memories. “It could be the worst job in the world,” Hayes testified. “It could make you want to jump off a bridge and it can make you feel physically sick every time you went into work.” Still, one of the hardest things about his current situation, he said, was that he was no longer allowed to trade. “I was, and to a lesser degree now, still obsessed with the markets, the financial markets, and very, very, very much miss my old job,” he said. “I very much miss my old career. It was a big, big part of my identity, that job and that career for me.”
By the end of Hayes’s first week on the stand, what had begun as an open-and-shut case was slipping away from Chawla. The young man came across as straightforward, affable, naïve—as much a victim of the system as the perpetrator of a crime.
But any hope for Hayes drained dramatically upon cross-examination. Asked to confirm basic facts, such as what instruments he traded, the trader turned evasive and combative. Physically, he tensed up, clenching his jaw and narrowing his eyes. When Chawla probed Hayes on the evidence against him, Hayes changed the subject, decrying the investigation as lacking any rigorous analysis and claiming he was a victim of a struggle for supremacy between the U.K. and U.S. authorities—a “fugitive from American justice.” At one point, the judge intervened, telling Hayes to answer the questions and refrain from speeches. A member of the defense team moaned to a reporter during a break: “Two years of my life over in two minutes.”
Ten weeks after the trial began, the jury was sent away to deliberate. After five days, they returned a unanimous verdict: guilty on all counts.
Half an hour later, Hayes walked back into the packed, hushed courtroom for the final time. On this occasion he couldn’t avoid the dock. Before entering, he asked a uniformed guard if he could kiss his wife goodbye. Dressed in a blue shirt and light blue sweater and carrying an overnight bag, he was led into the glass cell, and the door locked behind him.
Hayes barely reacted when the judge announced he would be imprisoned for 14 years, a sentence at the very highest end of the spectrum for white-collar criminals in the U.K. His wife shook her head, bent forward toward her lap, and grasped the arm of Hayes’s mother, who stared straight ahead, silently shaking.
“What you did, with others, was dishonest, as you well appreciated at the time,” the judge said in his closing remarks. “What this case has shown is the absence of that integrity which ought to characterize banking.””
(TOM HAYES QUOTE: I’d rather put my fate in the hands of 12 people than plead guilty to a politically driven process. I may not agree with what they decide in the end, but I will accept it.” SO, A TRIAL WAS WHAT HE GOT AND THE JURY CAME OUT SAYING HE WAS GUILTY AND SO THE DERIVATIVES TRADER WAS SENTENCED OT FOURTEEN YEARS IN A BRITISH PRISON “HER MAJESTY’S PRISON WANDSWORTH.” TOO BAD THE PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES DIDN’T HAVE MORE JUSTICE SERVED, LIKE IN THE DAYS OF THE SAVINGS & LOAN CRISIS, WHERE MANY PEOPLE WERE FINED AND JAILED. THE FINES IN THE UNITED STATES ARE JUST NOT BIG ENOUGH TO GET THE BIG, UNREGULATED INVESTMENT BANKERS TO REALLY CHANGE THEIR WAYS. SO, IT’S EXACTLY WHAT DONALD TRUMP SAID, “THE HEDGE FUND DEALERS ARE GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER.” THIS MUST BE MENTIONED IN THE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY DEBATES OF BOTH PARTIES.
LaVern Isely, Progressive, Overtaxed, Independent Middle Class Taxpayer and Public Citizen and USAF Veteran