A major new extradition row has broken out between Britain’s Serious Fraud Office and the US Department of Justice over Libor manipulation at UBS.
The SFO is understood to be angry that the DoJ is seeking the extradition of Tom Hayes, a former UBS employee who was charged on Wednesday by the American DoJ as part of its probe into Libor manipulation. That came on the same day that the bank agreed to pay $1.5bn to US,UK and Swiss authorities.
The SFO had been aware of the plans by its American counterpart to charge Mr Hayes before the British agency arrested him a week ago. He was bailed without charge. That in turn annoyed the DoJ, which was not tipped off about the arrest.
Meanwhile pressure is growing from British MPs who believe that Mr Hayes, as a British citizen, should face justice in this country.
Sir Menzies Campbell, the senior Lib Dem MP, told me that the allegedly illegal acts had been committed in Tokyo– and therefore the choice should be between a trial in the UK or a trial in Japan.
“It would be stretching territorial jurisdiction to a remarkable extent if this man was to be put on trial in the United States,” he said.
John Hemming, another Lib Dem MP, claimed the US was behaving “arrogantly”.
“You have to ask, is it the job forAmericato police the whole world?” he said. “The Libor issue involved people around the world, America wants to do the whole job and seem to have no limit on what is outside their remit.”
Mr Hemming said that his concerns stemmed from the earlier case of the so-called NatWest Three – bankers extradited in 2006 to face Enron-related charges in the US. He argued that the US plea-bargain system incentivised people to plead guilty even when they were not.
“They have a very difficult decision,” Mr Hemming said. “If they plead ‘not guilty’ they could face 35 years and if they plead ‘guilty’ it may only be three. That is not a fair choice.”
The question now is whether the SFO believes it has enough evidence to charge the former Read more