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In January, The Wall Street Journal reported that it received a text message from Hayes, saying "this goes much much higher than me."
LONDON — Britain's Serious Fraud Office has brought criminal charges against a man seen as a central figure in the investigation into the manipulation of Libor, the London inter-bank offered rate that is a key financial benchmark that affects the setting of global interest rates.
Thomas Hayes, 33, a former trader at Citigroup Inc. and UBS AG, has been charged with eights counts of "offences of conspiracy to defraud" for his alleged role in the rigging of Libor, the London-based SFO said Tuesday.
Hayes could not be reached for comment and has not spoken publicly about the allegations in the past, although Fulcrum Chambers, the London law firm that represents Hayes refused to comment on the charges to USA TODAY on Tuesday.
Libor, which measures the prices banks charge one another to borrow money, is a perfect example, not only of this basic flaw in the price-setting system but of the weakness in the regulatory framework supposedly policing it. Couple a voluntary reporting scheme with too-big-to-fail status and a revolving-door legal system, and what you get is unstoppable corruption.
Every morning, 18 of the world's biggest banks submit data to an office in London about how much they believe they would have to pay to borrow from other banks. The 18 banks together are called the "Libor panel," and when all of these data from all 18 panelist banks are collected, the numbers are averaged out. What emerges, every morning at 11:30 London time, are the daily Libor figures.
Banks submit numbers about borrowing in 10 different currencies across 15 different time periods, e.g., loans as short as one day and as long as one year. This mountain of bank-submitted data is used every day to create benchmark rates that affect the prices of everything from credit cards to mortgages to currencies to commercial loans (both short- and long-term) to swaps.
Gangster Bankers Broke Every Law in the Book