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Ex-trader Hayes allegedly conspired with 22 others, UK court hears

Former trader Tom Hayes leaves Southwark Crown Court in London October 21, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Former trader Tom Hayes leaves Southwark Crown Court in London October 21, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville

By Kirstin Ridley and Tommy Wilkes

LONDON (Reuters) - Tom Hayes, a former UBS and Citigroup trader, allegedly conspired with 22 others to manipulate Libor benchmark interest rates, a London court heard on Monday.

The 34-year-old, who appeared alongside former RP Martin brokers Terry Farr and James Gilmour at Southwark Crown Court, was charged with eight counts of conspiracy to defraud with staff from at least 10 banks and brokerages between 2006 and 2010.

The three Britons are the first suspects to face trial in an inquiry stretching from North America to Asia into whether traders manipulated rates such as Libor, against which around $300 trillion worth of products, from derivatives to mortgages, are priced worldwide.

The high-profile trial will provide a test for David Green, head of Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO), who has staked his reputation on the success of "top tier" investigations such as the global inquiry into the manipulation of benchmarks such as Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate).

Judge Jeremy Cooke said the indictments against Hayes and Farr had not been signed - meaning they were only in draft form - and therefore would be amended to remove the names of alleged co-conspirators. He emphasized no formal charge or complaint had been made against these other individuals.

The judge made the decision after lawyers representing some of the unnamed parties complained that their clients had only been told they would be named in court in a letter sent by the SFO on September 30.

NOT CHARGED

Some of the alleged co-conspirators have not even been interviewed by the SFO, the lawyers said.

"The reasons for not having those names set out is obvious," Judge Cooke said. "Here are people who have not been charged and may never be."

However the indictment against Gilmour had been signed and, according to an SFO spokeswoman, does name some of the alleged co-conspirators.

Farr and Gilmour were arrested alongside Hayes in Britain last December and were later also charged with conspiracy to defraud. Katie Wheatley, a lawyer representing Farr, declined to comment. Lawyers for Gilmour and Hayes could not be reached for comment.

Hayes joined UBS in Tokyo in 2006, becoming a senior trader of interest-rate derivatives indexed to yen-denominated Libor. In late 2009, he left to join Citigroup, also in Tokyo. He left the U.S. bank less than a year later.

In its charges against Hayes, Farr and Gilmour, the SFO has named a string of top banks and interdealer-brokers with whose employees the three allegedly conspired.

These include JPMorgan , Deutsche Bank , HSBC , Rabobank , RBS , ICAP and Tullet Prebon , along with the defendants' former employers.

The next hearing is planned for December with a trial not expected until 2015.

(Editing by Carmel Crimmins and David Holmes)

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