Barclays, other banks, in Libor scandal


This video is called Barclays CEO quits (news with Bernard Hickey).

By Christopher Marsden and Julie Hyland in England:

As Barclays CEO resigns

Libor manipulation scandal engulfs 16 top banks

4 July 2012

The Libor scandal, thus far focused on British-based Barclays bank, has revealed that global capitalism functions not as a free market, but as a rigged market controlled by contending groups of corporations, cartels and multi-billionaire speculators.

The sums involved in the manipulation of Libor (the London inter-bank lending rate) and its European equivalent, Euribor, are staggering. The most conservative estimate of the money accrued to the world’s top banks by these practices is £48 billion ($75 billion).

Libor and Euribor are two of the crucial mechanisms for setting interest rates on a vast array of financial products. Libor is the largest and most variable rate, covering ten currencies. It even helps determine the rate of the US dollar in the form of eurodollars.

Traders in London, New York, Japan and elsewhere colluded to manipulate the Libor rate so as to make massive profits or conceal losses, at the direct expense of pension funds and mortgage and loan holders.

These practices—involving what the British Financial Services Authority (FSA) admits were a “significant number of employees”—played a major role in determining the extent of the global financial crash of 2008.

A former Barclays executive who was close to the bank’s Libor-setting operation told the Financial Mail that the Libor mis-quotes “gave an illusion of stability and was a key factor in masking the severity of the crisis.”

A legal case in the United States is seeking damages of £70 billion ($110 billion) from Barclays and almost £80 billion ($126 billion) from the UK government-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)—figures far in excess of the banks’ market valuations.

This alone would make it the financial crime of the century. Yet after investigations going back to 2007 in at least three countries, no one has been prosecuted. Instead, those responsible have earned millions upon millions.

It was not until this week that the two leading figures in Barclays, Chairman Marcus Agius and Chief Executive Bob Diamond, reluctantly resigned. Both can expect handsome severance packages.

Meanwhile, the British Conservative/Liberal Democrat government has done nothing other than promise yet another toothless parliamentary inquiry—the standard mechanism for burying every crime of the ruling elite from the Iraq war to the News of the World phone hacking scandal.

Libor cartoon: here.

The British Bankers’ Association confirmed today that it has launched an investigation into the ongoing interbank interest rate-fixing scandal: here.

Nine giant banks submitted “living wills” to US authorities on Tuesday outlining how the government could break them up and sell their assets if they face bankruptcy: here.

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