Enrich has collaborated with and interviewed Tom Hayes quite extensively for this book. So it’s not surprising that the book is slightly slanted in his favour, especially when it comes to the mitigating circumstances for his actions.
Readers should note that Hayes launched an appeal against his conviction in January 2017, and his defence is built on the grounds that he believes he did not have a fair trial. In his previous trial the judge wouldn’t allow his Asperger’s diagnosis to be taken into account or presented. His expert witness argues that the Asperger’s syndrome would explain his inability to see his conduct as dishonest or that others could perceive his conduct to be dishonest.
It is also worth noting that Hayes wasn’t diagnosed with Asperger’s until before his trial, so it kind of begs the question whether this is just a convenient excuse and/or basis for his diminished capacity of guilt defence.
Of course the other side of the coin is the fact that Hayes, his colleagues and indeed the entire financial industry functioned and worked in an environment with little or no restrictions or repercussions. Most of the dealings we now consider to be criminal were not considered to be so at the time they began using them. A perfect example of this is insider trading, which was once, not many decades ago. considered to be normal wink wink nudge nudge dealing between traders and brokers.
I think the Spider Network is an inside window into the world of big finance and the insidious nature of those at the top. The Libor rate is an easily manipulated money sucking scam created by rather greedy, but extremely clever men with masses of hypothetical money at their fingertips and no thought to the lives they might, and certainly did, destroy.
It has been noted that there are plenty of sociopaths in the world of big business and finance. They are capable of making ruthless decisions without being hindered by empathy and compassion. They don’t consider the moral implications or the little man at the bottom of the pyramid.
Whilst the story of who, how and what is fascinating it also important to remember all the people who have fallen prey to the Libor rate game of derivatives.
On a side note I would like to add that despite Enrich giving the reader an inkling of who Hayes was and is, especially in regards to his ASD and possible vulnerabilities, the picture isn’t complete. The complexity of the case against him and why he is appealing isn’t delved into as minutely. Enrich does leave one with food for thought though, especially if you think out of the box. Was Hayes really the spinning spider or just part of the silky web, which was considered disposable?
Buy The Spider Network at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Some of the content of this review is pejorative and appears to reflect speculation on the part of the author, which is irresponsible given that Tom Hayes is appealing his conviction and may face retrial.
Both the prosecution and defence medical experts agreed that Tom Hayes is on the Autistic Spectrum. For that reason, it is not clear why the author appears to dispute this, particularly given that it was quite rare for children to receive diagnoses of ASD in the 1980s and, once you have left school, the circumstances in which you would receive a diagnosis are largely limited to self-awareness (something that Autistic people often struggle with).
Tom Hayes did not have a fair trial – most defence evidence was excluded and not allowed before his jury. Tom was coerced by the UK prosecutor into false confessions due to the threat of US extradition. The fact that the regulator agrees with the key limb of Tom’s defence – that LIBOR rates requested and drawn from within that morning’s market trading range are not dishonest – was not allowed before his jury. Instead, the prosecution lied and said that the market trading range did not exist. The prosecution did everything they could to convince Tom’s jury that he was requesting false LIBOR rates, when he was not.
Rarely will you see an example of the world’s media being so misled by politicians and prosecutors as you do with the LIBOR trials. Enrich’s book goes some way to debunking the myths surrounding Tom Hayes, but it does not actually present his defence.