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Supporters of jailed Libor trader Hayes make crowdfunding appeal

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05/04/2016 | 04:46pm CEST
buFormer trader Tom Hayes arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London

Supporters of Tom Hayes, a former star trader serving an 11-year jail sentence for conspiring to rig Libor interest rates, have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise 150,000 pounds to pay for a fresh attempt to appeal against his conviction.

Hayes, a former UBS and Citigroup derivatives trader, last August became the first person to be convicted of fraud offences linked to the setting of benchmark Libor rates. In sentencing him for dishonesty, the judge said a message must be sent to the world of banking, "where probity and honesty are essential".

He was initially handed a 14-year jail sentence - one of the toughest in the UK for white collar crime - before it was reduced to 11 years on appeal four months later. However, his simultaneous appeal against the conviction failed and in March the Court of Appeal also refused leave for his case to be brought before the UK's Supreme Court.

Hayes on Tuesday formally announced plans to bring his case to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which looks at miscarriages of justice and can refer a case back to the appeal courts - usually on the basis of compelling new evidence.

He has appointed human rights lawyer Karen Todner, who once represented Gary McKinnon, an Asperger's syndrome sufferer who admitted hacking into Pentagon and NASA computers but won a seven-year battle against U.S. extradition in 2012.

"Tom's family are now in possession of fresh evidence, some of which Tom requested in his trial but which UBS and the prosecution did not supply, choosing instead to say that it did not exist or that Tom had got it wrong," Todner said.

"We believe Tom has a strong case, which our submission to the CCRC will demonstrate."

His latest attempt to appeal comes three months after six former brokers he is alleged to have conspired with were acquitted in a separate London trial.

The Tom Hayes Support Group, which has called his trial a "politically-motivated show trial", said on a Fundrazr website they had raised over 2,000 stg in four days.

Hayes, who has been diagnosed with mild Asperger's syndrome, was in March ordered to pay almost 880,000 pounds as authorities claw back proceeds of crimes. His wife Sarah Tighe is expected to sell a seven-bedroom house in southern England, which is in her name, and personal assets.

Hayes's attempt to appeal is backed by David James, a member of the upper house of the UK parliament, the House of Lords, who told Reuters that Hayes had been victimised and called for a more precise legal clarification of Libor, the London interbank offered rate, and how it should be supervised.

European Union lawmakers last year gave initial backing to a draft law introducing direct supervision of "systemically important benchmarks" such as Libor and Britain has introduced a law requiring Libor to be compiled by a third-party administrator that meets a host of requirements.

(Editing by Greg Mahlich)

By Kirstin Ridley

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