David Green, the director of the fraud-busting agency, told the Wall Street Journal that the 14-year jail term handed down to Hayes would “send a strong deterrent message” to others considering rigging benchmark rates.
Hayes is the first person to be convicted by a jury of charges relating to the manipulation of Libor, which is used to set borrowing rates on $3ootn (£190tn) of financial contracts around the world He was found guilty on eight counts of conspiracy to defraud.
The 35-year old was a former trader at Swiss bank UBS and the US bank Citigroup.
Asked about the sentence, Green said: “It’s part punishment, it’s part deterrent.”
When asked whether higher ranking bankers might be pursued, Green told the Wall Street Journal: “We follow the evidence wherever it takes us, and that might be as high up the organisation as you might choose ... If there is evidence and it is in the public interest we will prosecute someone”.
To date 11 others are facing trial for Libor-related charges while one individual has pleaded guilty. The SFO’s investigation into rigging of the global interest rate benchmark is continuing and Green did not give any timescale for any further charges might be brought.
The case is regarded as a relief for Green and the SFO after a series of high-profile problems, including the collapse of an investigation into property developers the Tchenguiz brothers. Vincent Tchenguiz received at least £6m and an apology from the SFO, while Robert Tchenguiz received £1.5m.
The Hayes conviction “must be a considerable relief to both the SFO and its current director,” Robert Rhodes, a London-based trial lawyer told Bloomberg. Had he been acquitted, Rhodes said, “it would have likely raised serious questions about the judgment of those responsible for bringing prosecutions at the SFO.”
Mr Justice Cooke, who sentenced Hayes at Southwark crown court, said: “The conduct involved here is to be marked out as dishonest and wrong and a message sent to the world of banking accordingly. The reputation of Libor is important to the City as a financial sector and the banking institutions of the City.”
“Probity and honesty is essential as is trust. The Libor activity of which you played a leading part put all that in jeopardy,” Hayes was told.
This article was written by Jill Treanor, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 4th August 2015 20.06 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010