* Two day Court of Appeal hearing begins Tuesday
* Hayes to appeal conviction and 14-year term
* Sentence shows tougher stance on white collar crime
By Kirstin Ridley
LONDON, Nov 30 Tom Hayes, the very first trader convicted by a jury of manipulating Libor benchmark interest prices, on Tuesday begins a two-day, appeal against his conviction and a 14-year jail sentence, a single of the toughest to date for white collar crime.
The London case is being heard by Lord Chief Justice John Thomas — the head of the judiciary in England and Wales — Brian Leveson, a senior judge who chaired a public inquiry into the ethics of the British media in 2012, and Elizabeth Gloster.
Hayes, a 36-year-old former UBS and Citigroup trader, was in August identified unanimously guilty of eight charges of conspiracy to defraud for rigging Libor, the London interbank provided price, that underpins about $ 450 trillion of monetary contracts and consumer loans worldwide.
Cast as the ringleader in a single of the rate-rigging scams that has cost banks billions in regulatory fines, Hayes was found guilty of conspiring to rig Libor for profit.
But his legal group is arguing that Higher Court Judge Jeremy Cooke produced legal errors in the way he handled the trial and that the sentence is wrong in principle and excessive.
Much of the initial argument is anticipated to focus on what evidence was deemed relevant or admissible during the trial, lawyers say. The arguments about sentence length are probably to rest in component on regardless of whether Cooke was correct to jail Hayes for consecutive, rather than concurrent, fraud offences.
Richard Cornthwaite, Hayes’s lawyer at law firm Cartwright King, stated he anticipated a ruling this week but added that this was “a matter for the court” .
Hayes, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, denied dishonesty throughout his trial, arguing he had been open about practices that had been endorsed by senior employees and common in the business at the time.
Hayes’s defence was hampered by his earlier admissions of dishonesty in interviews with investigators in 2013. Hayes told the jury he initially cooperated with the Severe Fraud Office only to avoid extradition to the United States, exactly where he faced equivalent charges. But he later decided to fight the charges.
In his sentencing remarks on Aug. three, Cooke mentioned there was no separate standard of dishonesty for any group of society, that Hayes had “appreciated at the time” he had acted dishonestly and that it was irrelevant that others had carried out the identical or that managers condoned, embraced or even encouraged it.
He said there was “no doubt” the sums involved ran into millions of dollars and that the conduct in the case “should be marked out as dishonest and wrong and a message sent to the world of banking accordingly”.
Hayes was sentenced consecutively for the conspiracies he was found guilty of although at UBS and these whilst at Citigroup in between 2006 and 2010. Had the marketplace rigging been noticed as a single offence, Hayes would have faced a maximum 10-year sentence.
The sentence shows how the UK judiciary is toughening its stance on white collar crime, lawyers say.
Need to the Court of Appeal side with Hayes, it could order a retrial. But both Hayes’s group and the Significant Fraud Workplace, which is now pursuing confiscation proceedings against Hayes to claw back house deemed to be proceeds of crime, could however take the case to the Supreme Court if they fail at this stage. (Reporting by Kirstin Ridley Editing by Keith Weir)