LONDON (Reuters) - Tom Hayes, a British former trader serving an 11-year jail sentence for manipulating Libor interest rates, lost an appeal on Wednesday against a confiscation order that forced his wife to sell their seven-bedroom country house.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal that turned on whether Hayes had handed his wife, Sarah Tighe, a “tainted gift” when he bought the property, put it in joint names and later sold his share to her.
Lawyers for Hayes argued that a judge’s decision to include the whole value of the property when he calculated what proceeds to confiscate, following the former trader’s conviction, did not take account of Tighe’s contribution to the marriage.
Hayes, a mildly autistic former UBS and Citigroup trader, was ordered to pay 852,561 pounds following his conviction in 2015.
Hayes bought the property in southeastern England outright for 1.2 million pounds in 2011 and sold his share to Tighe for 250,000 pounds in 2013 to help pay mounting legal bills. Tighe sold the house for 1.63 million pounds in 2016 to pay the confiscation order.
The judges said the purchase of the property had been a joint decision made in good faith. But they said that against the background of criminal conduct, the property should be considered a “gift” in legal terms and dismissed the appeal.
“Ms Tighe made no financial contributions at all, directly or indirectly, towards the purchase...Their marriage for around a year, and Joshua’s (their son) birth in October 2011, cannot of itself involve ‘consideration’ of ‘value’...” the judges said in the ruling.
Tighe said she was disappointed that her contribution to the marriage had not been recognized.
“Sarah and I are very disappointed with this outcome,” Hayes said in a statement. “This is unfair on Sarah and my 6-year-old son, Joshua. I will now consider options for a further appeal.”
Hayes has referred his conviction to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), an independent body that examines potential miscarriages of justice.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which prosecuted the case, declined to comment.
Editing by Adrian Croft