A British appeals court today upheld the conviction of Tom Hayes, a former UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. trader, for manipulating Libor and made clear that “everybody does it” is no excuse to break the law.
The defense had argued both at trial and in its appeal of Hayes’ conviction that the conduct of other traders should be considered in the decision on whether to convict Hayes for rigging the London benchmark bank rate. The appeals court rejected that argument in its ruling issued today.
“There is no authority for the proposition that objective standards of honesty are to be set by a market,” the judges said. They wisely noted that “such a principle would gravely affect the proper conduct of business.”
The appeals court gave the defense a small victory by reducing Hayes’ sentence from 14 years to 11 years.
“We are of the view that taking into account all the circumstances — in particular his age, his non-managerial position in the two banks, and his mild Asperger’s condition — that the overall sentence was longer than was necessary to punish the appellant and to deter others,” the judges said in a written statement