UK authorities have charged Tom Hayes, the former UBS and Citigroup trader, with eight counts of conspiracy to defraud in connection with the global London interbank offered rate-rigging scandal.
Mr Hayes, 33, of Surrey, was charged by City of London police at Bishopsgate police station, the Serious Fraud Office announced. He will appear before the Westminster magistrate on Thursday. His UK lawyers declined to comment.
A highly touted yen-Libor trader, Mr Hayes is the first person to face UK criminal charges in a scandal that has seen three banks pay more than $2.6bn in fines for attempting to manipulate interbanking lending rates.
One person familiar with the investigation said Mr Hayes had participated in extensive interviews with SFO investigators since his arrest without charges in December. Two interdealer brokers arrested with him at that time have not been charged.
The global investigation has led regulators in five countries to sanction 20 different banks, including last week’s action by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which found that 133 traders had sought to influence three different kinds of rates.
The UK move set up a potential conflict between US and UK authorities. Mr Hayes already faces criminal charges in the US, filed in December by the Department of Justice. His lawyers there have previously said he denies wrongdoing. In general, criminal matters are resolved in a defendant’s home country before any extradition request is considered.
Last night, after it was reported that Mr Hayes was likely to be charged on Tuesday, a DoJ spokesman said: “The Justice Department’s Criminal Division has regular, constructive communication with our partners in the Serious Fraud Office about our ongoing Libor investigations and other fraud matters.”
Citigroup and UBS declined to comment. Mr Hayes also worked at Royal Bank of Scotland earlier in his career.
The SFO began investigating Libor in July of last year, after Barclays’ Libor-rigging settlement with UK and US authorities sparked criticism that no one had been criminally charged.
The charges come at a time when global regulators are seeking to increase oversight and improve governance of all kinds of benchmarks, ranging from equity indices to pricing of jet fuel and natural gas. The International Organisation of Securities Commissions is expected to set out worldwide standards next month.
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