Fraud squad prosecutors issued Tom Hayes with a stark ultimatum on Tuesday – that he must hand over nearly everything he owns or face more time in jail.
At a hearing in the Old Bailey, the prosecution alleged that Hayes, a former UBS and Citigroup trader, was only paid as handsomely as he was because he secured high profits by manipulating Libor. Therefore, they argued, much of what he had purchased should be confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Items assessed by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) as being up for grabs include Hayes’ wedding ring, the wedding ring and engagement ring belonging to his wife Sarah Tighe and a pension pot held by Hayes. Together they amount to over £2m worth of assets.
The principal asset on the list is the Old Rectory, a house in Surrey the couple purchased in 2011 and is now thought to be worth £1.7m.
Should the SFO be successful in arguing that the assets are proceeds of the crimes, Hayes will either have to pay millions or, if he can not stump up the cash or assets, the ex-trader could face more time in jail.
Hayes, who pulled in a six-figure salary as a trader, was found guilty of eight counts of conspiracy to defraud for his role in manipulating Libor last August. He was initially sentenced to 14 years in prison but this was later reduced to 11 years on appeal.
The prosecution argued that Hayes’ ability to boost his profits by working to manipulate Libor made him particularly valuable to his employers, pointing to internal emails sent at UBS shortly after Hayes had been approached by Citigroup, which read: “If Tom was easily replaceable, Citi would have given up by now”.
The court was told that Hayes was given a generous golden hello when he finally agreed to leave UBS for Citigroup.
The prosecution claimed that by manipulating Libor, Hayes was giving “himself an edge” and essentially “put himself in a position where he was perceived to be the top man in what was a relatively small pond of Yen Libor traders”.
Overseeing the confiscation hearing, which started on Monday, was Justice Jeremy Cooke, the same judge who handed Hayes his 14-year sentence last August.
Hayes appeared agitated at points during the prosecution’s argument. He also spoke to his wife through the glass of the dock while the judge was not sitting and the court was not in session.
The hearing is ongoing and is expected to conclude by the end of the week. The defence is due to lay out its argument tomorrow. There is also an appeal system in place, should whichever party loses wish to challenge the decision.