La-La Libor Lawsuit Land

Another bank ripoff and another lawsuit dismissed.  The Libor manipulation scandal spurred private investors and others to sue the banks over their losses.  A judge just threw out major portions of their case.  There were at least 22 Plaintiffs.  Now groups like the City of Baltimore are out of luck in recovering all of their losses due to banks manipulating a key interest rate.

Business as Usual and Prosecution of Financial Crime

hsbcThe latest fallout in the banks manipulating the LIBOR scandal were criminal charges against two UBS traders. LIBOR is a key financial rate and the Justice Department this week fined UBS $1.5 billion for rate rigging. The Japan UBS subsidiary also pleaded guilty to wire fraud.

UBS Securities Japan Co. Ltd. (UBS Japan), an investment bank, financial advisory securities firm and wholly-owned subsidiary of UBS AG, has agreed to plead guilty to felony wire fraud and admit its role in manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), a leading benchmark used in financial products and transactions around the world, Attorney General Eric Holder announced today. The criminal information, filed today in U.S. District Court in the District of Connecticut, charges UBS Japan with one count of engaging in a scheme to defraud counterparties to interest rate derivatives trades by secretly manipulating LIBOR benchmark interest rates.

What's Up in Bankster Land?

bankstersIt might just be election time. We have Bank of America being sued for Countrywide's hustle, a program which pawned off bad mortgages onto Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from 2007 to 2009. The U.S. District Attorney, Office’s Civil Frauds Unit in New York filed a civil complaint against BoA, who acquired Countrywide, for $1 billion.

The Complaint seeks civil penalties under FIRREA, as well as treble damages and penalties under the False Claims Act, for over $1 billion in losses suffered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for defaulted loans fraudulently sold by COUNTRYWIDE and BANK OF AMERICA.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “For the sixth time in less than 18 months, this Office has been compelled to sue a major U.S. bank for reckless mortgage practices in the lead-up to the financial crisis. The fraudulent conduct alleged in today’s complaint was spectacularly brazen in scope. As alleged, through a program aptly named ‘the Hustle,’ Countrywide and Bank of America made disastrously bad loans and stuck taxpayers with the bill. As described, Countrywide and Bank of America systematically removed every check in favor of its own balance – they cast aside underwriters, eliminated quality controls, incentivized unqualified personnel to cut corners, and concealed the resulting defects. These toxic products were then sold to the government sponsored enterprises as good loans. This lawsuit should send another clear message that reckless lending practices will not be tolerated.”

The Latest Evildoing in Banksterdom

bankstersBanks running amok. Banks losing billions. Banks busted for fraud that went on for over 20 years. Banks overcharging customers. The hits just keep on coming. One would think, at this point, the business suit would be more a symbol of jailbirds than a uniform of respectability. Yet on and on it goes and with that we overview the latest adventures in Mafia style Banksterdom.

The headlines blare JPMorgan Chase Revives Markets when they announced a $5.8 billion dollar loss on their derivatives trades.

The largest U.S. bank tried to demonstrate Friday that the worst of the problem was in the rear-view mirror, reporting a $4.96 billion profit for the second quarter, down 8.7% from a year ago.

That's almost three times larger than the originally reported $2 billion loss and that loss could climb to $7.5 billion. What does Wall Street do with this news, why reward the bank of course!

Meanwhile new investigations against JPMorgan Chase are popping up with the bank refusing to release emails about manipulating the electricity market.

Banking Fraud Is Just the New Way of Doing Business

bigbenThe manipulation of the LIBOR scandal just keeps growing. Ever since Barclays was busted for manipulating this key critical interbank interest rate, more outrageous details keep pouring out.

Europe wants to make such evil financial dealings criminal. Yes, that's right, already manipulating a key interest rate is being classified as not criminal by this announcement.

Europe's top regulatory official intends to propose new rules that would criminalize the manipulation of benchmarks such as Libor.

Other investigations are also being announced:

The U.K. Serious Fraud Office opened a criminal probe into the attempted rigging of interest rates that led to a record fine against Barclays Plc (BARC), adding to pressure on banks already under investigation by regulators around the globe.

Supposedly the U.S. opened a criminal probe in February 2012:

Several major global banks, including Citigroup Inc, HSBC Holdings Plc, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and UBS AG, have disclosed that they have been approached by authorities investigating how Libor is set.

Leapin' LIBOR - Banks Busted For Manipulating InterBank Interest Rates

rouletteBarclays was busted for manipulating the LIBOR. The London Interbank Offered Rate is the interest rate banks charge to lend to each other. This key interest rate sets most banking transactions, including retail. Manipulating the Libor is like being a casino with crooked roulette wheels and loaded dice.

Barclays has been fined £290m ($450m) for trying to manipulate a key bank interest rate which influences the cost of loans and mortgages.

Barclays' Chairman just stepped down:

Marcus Agius will step down from Barclays as soon as Monday, amid fallout from the bank's $453 million settlement of probe into Libor manipulation.

On Wednesday the U.K's Financial Services Authority announced to the world Barclays manipulated the Libor and was fined. Below is some of the FSA's press release:

The FSA has today announced that it has found serious failings in the sale of interest rate hedging products to some small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). We believe that this has resulted in a severe impact on a large number of these businesses. In order to provide as swift a solution to this problem as possible we have today confirmed that we have reached agreement with Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS to provide appropriate redress where mis-selling has occurred.

Tales a Waggin' at Goldman Sachs


How much money did we make off the client?

This quote describes the new corporate culture exposed by ex-Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith. In a scathing commentary, Smith says Goldman Sachs preys off of their clients and the company is all about making money...for Goldman Sachs and themselves, that is. Internally they call clients Muppets, institutions and people to milk money from.

It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail. Even after the S.E.C., Fabulous Fab, Abacus, God’s work, Carl Levin, Vampire Squids? No humility? I mean, come on. Integrity? It is eroding. I don’t know of any illegal behavior, but will people push the envelope and pitch lucrative and complicated products to clients even if they are not the simplest investments or the ones most directly aligned with the client’s goals? Absolutely. Every day, in fact.