Former UBS banker Peter Ghavami was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Wednesday (July 24) for his role in deceiving U.S. municipalities by rigging bids to invest municipal bond proceeds, a much shorter sentence than prosecutors had sought.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood also ordered Ghavami, a Belgian national and the former global head of commodities at UBS, to pay a $1 million (£652,000) fine..

Prosecutors said the bankers steered financial contracts to their friends in exchange for kickbacks and other favours between 2001 and 2006, while falsely certifying that the processes were competitive.

A federal jury convicted Ghavami and two other bankers last August of conspiring to defraud municipal bond issuers, and also convicted Ghavami and Heinz of wire fraud. UBS agreed in 2011 to pay $160 million in restitution, penalties and disgorgement for the scheme.

A smiling Ghavami declined to comment after his hearing. But his lawyer, Charles Stillman, expressed satisfaction with the sentence.

Presented by Adam Justice