Finance

Criminal Commission to consider report claiming Libor rigger Tom Hayes was innocent

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has confirmed it is considering an academic research that claims convicted Libor rigger Tom Hayes was wrongfully imprisoned, as part of its ongoing inquiry into the former trader’s case.

The CCRC, an independent body responsible for investigating suspected miscarriages of justice, made the disclosure to lawyers for Hayes as it enters the final stages of its decision-making process around whether to refer his case to the Court of Appeal.

Financial News reported in June that Dr. Raphael Yahalom, a researcher at the MIT Sloan School of Management, had submitted a research paper to the CCRC ahead of its last meeting to discuss the case on 29 June.

The paper outlines how Hayes’ conduct should “not have been determined as dishonest,” Yahalom previously told FN.

In a 20 July email to Hayes’ lawyer Karen Todner, the CCRC confirmed it “will consider [Yahalom’s] reports” in its ongoing review of the former trader’s conviction.

READ Tom Hayes gives advice to junior bankers: ‘Get your boss’s commands in writing’

“The only other development, which you may have seen in the news, is that the CCRC has received communications from an academic at MIT, Dr Rafi Yahalom,” read an email from the CCRC outlining its progress in reviewing Hayes’ case. “We have indicated that the CCRC will consider his reports.”

The email added that the body, which has been reviewing the former trader’s conviction for almost five years, “would not be in a position to issue a decision [on the case] before September”.

Yahalom told FN that his analysis and its conclusions had “far reaching implications well beyond just the case of Tom Hayes”. “Similar reasoning and new insights apply to multiple other Libor cases, as well as many others,” he said.

Yahalom’s analysis focused on the policies, processes, and guidelines for the Libor daily submissions as set by the banks, and on Hayes’s actions in relation to these, the academic said in June.

“[It] leads to the evident and clear conclusion that the policies and processes set by the respective banks for their daily Libor submissions were grossly inadequate in multiple ways, and when assessed systematically in this new context Hayes’s actions are established as not dishonest,” he said then.

“My analysis consequently leads to the conclusion that the banks’ Libor daily submission policies, processes, and guidelines should have been considered more systematically at Hayes’s trial and appeal and, had these been considered appropriately, that Hayes conduct would not have been determined as dishonest, and he would not have been convicted on counts of conspiracy to defraud,” he said.

The CCRC appointed barrister Robert Ward QC in early 2021 to lead the final stages of its review into Hayes’ sentencing. A decision-making committee, convened by Ward, has subsequently met twice to discuss Hayes’ conviction.

READ Here’s who will decide on Tom Hayes’ final battle to quash his Libor conviction

In an email from the CCRC to Todner after its last meeting on 29 June, a case review manager from the body said today’s meeting had been “productive” and featured “detailed and in-depth discussion about the case” but that there remained some queries and requests for further information had been made.

In its 20 July email to Todner, the CCRC said: “The current position is that work is ongoing answering the Commissioners’ remaining queries and finalising decision documents in Mr Hayes’ case.”

The CCRC could refer Hayes’ case to the Court of Appeal if they decide there is a “real possibility” that his original conviction will be quashed by the Court, a spokesman for the body told FN in December. They could also decide the case needs a further review before making a decision or that there are no grounds to refer the case to the Court of Appeal. In the latter scenario, Hayes and his legal team will have an opportunity to review the CCRC’s reasons for such a decision and to issue a response to it.

In 2017, lawyers for Hayes submitted his case to the CCRC in a bid to have his conviction quashed.

His legal team alleges that an autism diagnosis that Hayes received before his trial was not given due consideration in court, and that the prosecution used witnesses who were not experts and held back important items of evidence from the defence. Hayes’ legal team has also claimed it has new evidence.

A CCRC spokesperson confirmed a decision on the case would not be made before September.

“We can confirm that this complex case remains under review and the document from Dr Yahalom has been received and is being considered,” the spokesperson said.

An SFO spokesperson told FN in December: “Tom Hayes was found guilty by a jury of manipulating the Libor benchmark, and the Court of Appeal upheld Tom Hayes’ conviction. We will continue to assist the Criminal Cases Review Commission in its enquiries.”

Todner told FN that she was “glad” that “the review was finally reaching a conclusion and Tom’s conviction can be reviewed”.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Lucy McNulty

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