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Libor trial: Rigging widespread, trader told probe

35-year-old Tom Hayes arriving for his trial at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday 3rd June Image copyright Getty Images

A former trader accused of Libor rate rigging said market abuse had been rife, a jury has been told.

In interviews with investigators, Tom Hayes said brokers in other firms were a "tool" in his "armoury", Southwark Crown Court heard.

"It was too widespread and open for people to be completely unaware... It was just so blatant," he had said.

Mr Hayes, 35, from Fleet, Hampshire, a former UBS and Citigroup trader, denies eight counts of conspiracy to defraud.

He also told the investigators from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) that UBS bosses attended at least one morning meeting in Tokyo, where he was based.

The court heard that at the meetings, traders commonly discussed Libor rates, and discussed wanting them set to flatter trading positions.

'Dishonest environment'

Mr Hayes told the SFO he was making extra payments to brokers and his network of friends at other banks, in return for information and help.

In one extract read out in court, Mr Hayes said: "Yes I admit I was dishonest and was dishonest within an environment that was prevalent among all the banks."

Libor - the London Interbank Offered Rate - is an interest rate used by banks around the world to set the price of financial products worth trillions of pounds.

Mr Hayes's trading activities were based around movements in the Libor rate. The allegations concern the period 2006 to 2010.

The court was told of a co-operation agreement signed by Mr Hayes in April 2013 which could have seen him appear as a witness in the prosecution of other suspects in return for a possible reduced sentence.

He was charged in June 2013 and four months later, after he appointed a new legal team, the SFO was informed he was withdrawing from the SOCPA process and would plead not guilty.

The trial continues.

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