LONDON (Reuters) - Tom Hayes, a former UBS and Citigroup trader serving an 11-year jail sentence for conspiring to rig Libor global interest rates, was on Tuesday blocked from appealing to the UK's Supreme Court against his conviction.
Hayes, the first person tried by jury after a global inquiry into allegations of Libor-rigging, has redoubled efforts to overturn his conviction since six former brokers he is alleged to have plotted with were found not guilty in a separate London trial.
London's Court of Appeal on Tuesday formally refused leave for the case to be taken to the UK's highest court, which hears appeals in exceptional cases of general public importance, according to a spokesman for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
Since he was jailed last August, 36-year-old Hayes has succeeded in persuading the Court of Appeal to cut his initial 14-year jail sentence - one of the longest on record for UK white collar crime - by three years. But he failed to overturn his conviction.
Hayes said in a statement from Lowdham Grange prison in central England that he was disappointed with the decision, continued to maintain his innocence and would pursue all avenues available to him to clear his name.
"My application is clearly in relation to a point of law and is of public importance because it concerns the test of dishonesty that applies to all criminal cases in this country," he said.
The former star derivatives trader was found unanimously guilty of eight charges of conspiracy to defraud related to Libor, the London interbank offered rate that banks use to set interest rates on $450 trillion of loans and financial products worldwide.
He is now expected to take his case to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which looks at miscarriages of justice. However, one lawyer has said without exceptional new evidence, it will be like "getting through the eye of a needle".
In the meantime, the SFO is pursuing confiscation proceedings against Hayes to claw back around 3.8 million pounds of alleged proceeds of crime. Four days of hearings are scheduled to begin on March 12.
Prosecutors presented Hayes, who was diagnosed with mild Asperger's syndrome shortly before his trial began last May, as the ringleader of a dishonest scam to fix Libor with brokers and other traders to benefit his trading book between 2006 and 2010.
Hayes denied dishonesty during his 47-day trial, saying he had been open about his practices, such as sending scores of messages cajoling, pressuring and offering rewards to those who could influence rates. He said his bosses had condoned methods that were common practice at the time.
But his defence was complicated by previous admissions of dishonesty while initially cooperating with investigators in 2013. Hayes said during his trial that he later decided to fight the charges out of rage at being turned into a scapegoat.
Two former Rabobank traders, Anthony Allen and Anthony Conti, are due to be sentenced on Thursday by a U.S. judge after they were found guilty of fraud-related offences last November in the first U.S. Libor trial.
Editing by Alexander Smith and David Evans