The sorry, sad story of Tom Hayes, the former Citi and UBS trader who went from earning $7.4m in four years to being sentenced to 14 years in prison, has been well-documented. Just when it seemed there was no more to be said about Hayes’ fall from grace, the Wall Street Journal has released the first of a five part series revealing that there is. And it’s about the human tragedy behind the public prosecution.
WSJ journalist David Enrich seems to have become almost part of Hayes’ family. Enrich says Hayes sent him thousands of text messages throughout the day and night and that Hayes’ wife and relatives began communicating with him too.
In Enrich’s account we learn that Hayes openly contemplated killing himself, that his exhausted wife said, “Go on then,” and that when Hayes learned he was being charged with fixing LIBOR by the US as well as the UK his leg started twitching and his wife, corporate lawyer Sarah Tighe, vomited. Enrich’s level of detail is almost Knausgaardian. We can only assume that he was actually there as Hayes’ life fell apart – or that if he wasn’t, that someone who was has been filling him in to the nth degree.
Aside from the despair, the worst thing in Enrich’s first instalment on Hayes’ collapse is the false hope. When Hayes was fired from Citi for manipulating LIBOR in September 2010, it was less than two weeks before he and Tighe were due to get married at a ‘luxury hotel’. Thinking he’d be exonerated, Hayes – who’d received a $3m signing bonus at Citi in late 2009 – carried on as normal. He got married, he conceived a child, he bought a house, and he started an MBA at the Hult International Business School. No one arrested for market manipulation will ever be quite so complacent again.
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