In light of the recent Tom Hayes LIBOR rigging sentencing, Partner Andrew Smith has discussed what this is likely to mean for other individuals facing LIBOR prosecutions. His comments have been featured in articles on CDR magazine and Law Society Gazette.
‘The sentence handed to Mr Hayes should not be seen as determinative of the sentences likely to be handed down in any future LIBOR prosecution if further convictions are obtained. Each case will of course turn on its own facts. The evidence against other traders or submitters awaiting trial may not be as strong. Not many other LIBOR defendants will be exposed to the consecutive sentence trap which caught Mr Hayes. It is also unlikely that any of them would need to explain to a jury the prior admissions of dishonest conduct which bedevilled Mr Hayes’s defence at trial.
The sentence is a lesson in the dangers inherent in trying to manipulate a criminal fraud investigation. Mr Hayes’s strategy of leveraging the assisting offender agreement to precipitate a trial in the jurisdiction that appeared to offer the more lenient sentencing regime backfired. It deprived him of the opportunity to mitigate his sentence and means he will now serve the kind of lengthy custodial sentence he feared receiving in the US.
Finally, the sentence is a graphic illustration that the most egregious white collar fraudsters will now be punished by sentences comparable to those handed to offenders who commit the most serious general crimes. As the current Lord Chief Justice memorably remarked in the context of a foreign bribery case: “those who commit such serious crimes as corruption of foreign officials must not be viewed or treated in any different way from other criminals.” Mr Justice Cooke has ensured that the same sentiment will now echo throughout the financial services industry, noting that: “the seriousness of this offence is hard to overstate […] a message has been sent to the world of banking”.’