“I was in survival mode,” said Hayes, rubbing his eyes and covering his face. “I was looking at a world full of bad options” and being dishonest with the SFO was “the least worst option.”
That was one of many examples of Hayes changing his version of events, Chawla said. When Citigroup began probing Libor in 2010, Hayes told interviewers he was giving the rate setters at the bank information rather than trying to influence their submissions, Chawla said. Hayes’s lack of disclosure was cited by Citigroup in its termination letter to Hayes, which was shown to the jury.
Hayes responded that he was instructed to lie by his boss, Chris Cecere, and the bank’s then chief executive officer for Japan, Brian McCappin. Neither man has been accused of wrongdoing.
“Why do you think Citi paid me so much money to leave quietly?” Hayes said.
Prosecutors say Hayes bullied and cajoled fellow traders and brokers to move benchmark rates to make his positions more profitable. Hayes’s lawyers say the practice was widespread.
Hayes started the day under intense questioning from prosecutor Chawla, who accused Hayes of changing his story first to avoid extradition, and now to escape prison. Chawla used the words “lie” and “dishonest” more than two dozen times.
“I want to understand when you decided that you were going to embark on a series of lies,” Chawla asked during one particularly terse exchange. “Was it” during the SFO interviews “or was it later?”
Pressed to explain why he later reneged on the evidence he had given the SFO, Hayes, who frequently asked Chawla to rephrase his questions, said he had had a chance to reconsider his position.
“I would rather 12 people made their mind up about me rather than I plead guilty to a politically-driven process that I’d been forced into,” he said, raising his voice. “I became a political football.”
“I am still a fugitive from American Justice.”
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