The Libor rigger's final gamble which didn't pay off

Tom Hayes, the first person to be convicted by a jury of fixing Libor, the rate that sets the price of trillions of pounds in global loans, began a 14-year prison term on Monday.

To his colleagues, Hayes was known as "Tommy Chocolate" – so called because he preferred cocoa to alcohol when out drinking with City friends. In court he complained he was being portrayed as “the Jesse James of Libor, the Bobby Dazzler of Libor”.

At the end of his trial, the former trader was confirmed not only to have been a “gambler” but the “ringmaster” of the “biggest banking crime in history”.

But the name likely to stick to Hayes the longest, however, may be “Rain Man”. Before the trial, he was diagnosed with mild Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. He was surprised to learn of the developmental disability, saying: “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me.”

Yet he added: “It does explain certain character traits I have. The obsessionality.” His fear of a US jail sentence prompted him to “tell all” to the Serious Fraud Office to ensure he faced charges in the UK.

In more than 80 hours of interviews, he outlined in great detail how every bank was endeavouring to influence the rate. His confession, he said, came from his fear of being taken away from his wife and new-born child.

However, the judge concluded that he was “by nature a gambler” – which extended to his decision to later plead not guilty despite having confessed to his methods, Mr Justice Cooke said in a pre-trial hearing.

The judge said the evidence showed it was an “open and shut case” but that Hayes hoped the jury might be fooled by technicalities and let him off. It was a gamble he lost.

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