Former UBS man, Tom Hayes, accused of Libor rigging faces 10 years in prison if convicted

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The Independent Online

Prosecutors say they have gathered extensive evidence in the case of the former trader Tom Hayes, the first suspect to come to court following a global investigation into the suspected rigging of interbank lending rates.

"To describe [the evidence] as voluminous would be rather an understatement," Mukul Chawla, the leading counsel for the Serious Fraud Office, told a preliminary court hearing yesterday.

Judge Anthony Leonard told lawyers representing the SFO to serve their prosecution papers by 30 September.

Mr Hayes, a Briton charged last month with conspiracy to defraud, spoke only to confirm his name. The former UBS and Citigroup trader did not enter a plea.

Authorities have been interviewing a string of traders in connection with a sprawling investigation into how benchmark rates such as Libor, against which trillions of dollars of loans are priced, were routinely rigged. However, Mr Hayes, who allegedly manipulated Libor benchmark interest rates with staff from 10 leading banks and brokers over four years, is the first suspect to be charged by UK and United States prosecutors and brought before a British court in an inquiry stretching from North America to Asia.

The next hearing at which the 33-year-old could submit a plea – a plea and case management hearing – has been provisionally set for the week starting 21 October. Mr Hayes remains on bail.

The Libor scandal, which has sparked public and political outrage and laid bare the failings of authorities and bank bosses, has seen UK and US regulators fine three banks a total of $2.6bn (£1.7bn). Prosecutors and police have charged two men, including Mr Hayes.

Mr Hayes joined the Swiss bank UBS in Tokyo in 2006, leaving in late 2009, to join Citigroup in Tokyo. He left the US bank less than a year later.

Prosecutors allege that together with employees from institutions including UBS, Citigroup, Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, HSBC and the firm of interdealer brokers Icap, Mr Hayes conspired to defraud.

The maximum UK sentence for conspiracy to defraud is 10 years.