The 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.
No bank or trader has been criminally charged in the Libor probes. It wasn't clear which banks or traders the Justice Department is targeting in its criminal probe.
The memo says that, since the bank has spent three years and £100m in its efforts to “ensure that no stone has been left unturned” in its investigation of the Libor scandal, “it is ironic that there has been such an intense focus on Barclays alone”. On the next page Barclays makes its devastating move that shifts the spotlight. The heading reads simply: 29 October 2008 Communication from the Bank of England. At this point, Barclays has already made it clear that the Bank made the first move, not Barclays.
Repeating the point, the memo states that “Bob Diamond received a call from Paul Tucker, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England” which he then reproduced in an email to John Varley, then chief executive. In the email, dated 14:19 on 30 October 2008, Diamond said Tucker had told him about Government fears about Barclays’ high Libor submissions.
The email finishes: “Mr Tucker stated the levels of calls he was receiving from Whitehall were 'senior’ and that while he was certain we did not need advice, that it did not always need to be the case that we appeared as high as we have recently.”
While Great Britain's Economic and Financial Chancellor George Osbourne said:
Fraud is a crime in ordinary business — why shouldn’t it be so in banking?
The truth has emerged he is fighting for banking executive big bonuses instead.
George Osborne is preparing to defend the right of British banks to pay large bonuses against EU plans to cap the pay-outs, it emerged last night.
Of course the Bank of England's chief deputy officer is defending their central bank and claiming not to be involved in Liborgate:
E-mails released by the Bank of England before Mr. Tucker’s testimony revealed that senior British officials were worried about banks’ access to the financial markets in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
“We are [very] concerned that U.S. rates are tumbling but we remain stuck,” Jeremy Heywood, a senior British civil servant, told Mr. Tucker in an e-mail on Oct. 22, 2008.
Mr. Tucker also was in almost daily contact with senior Barclays executives during the final weeks of October, 2008, according to the documents.
Yet the New York Times asks what isn't America getting tough on banks as if the U.K. really is. Buried in the New York Times piece is this fascinating factoid (along with word of the day, imbroglio):
Prices of derivatives, especially credit default swaps that trade one-to-one, can still be based on one dealer’s say-so. That’s why a rule proposed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission that would require pretrade price transparency in the swaps market is so important.
But it is also why Wall Street is pushing back, especially on the commission’s proposal that swap execution facilities provide market participants, before they buy or sell, with easily accessible prices on “a centralized electronic screen.” The commission’s rule would eliminate the one-to-one dealings by telephone that are so lucrative to traders and so expensive to investors.
A bill intended to gut the commission’s proposed rule and to maintain dealers’ profits in derivatives failed to go anywhere after being passed last year by two committees in the House of Representatives — Financial Services and Agriculture. That was a good thing.
But there are rumblings in Washington that this bill has resurfaced and that it may be quietly attached to a House Agriculture Committee appropriations bill scheduled for a vote this month. The bill, if passed, would bar the requirement for a centralized pricing platform to shed light on the enormous swaps market. It would also prevent regulators from requiring that a number of participants provide price quotations to customers, a way to ensure fairness.
In other words, while Liborgate rages on, quietly our government officials, Congress, are busy trying to cut an important financial reform on derivatives. Lovely.
Even Matt Taibbi has high hopes America will wake up.
When the rest of this scandal comes out, and it turns out that up to 15 more of the world's biggest banks (including Chase, Bank of America, and Citi) were doing the same thing as Barclays, our regulators better start "inflecting their eyebrows" pretty damn vigorously. Because if it comes out that these other banks were all involved with this scandal (and it will come out that way, almost for sure), and their CEOs and COOs get to keep their jobs, that'll be a sure sign that the fix is in. Let's hope Ben Bernanke, Eric Holder, and Tim Geithner are listening.
We're sorry Matt, the holy trinity of Geithner, Holder and Bernanke are listening, and laughing all the way. There is no way they will do anything. After all Holder has make a point to not criminally pursue the Banks, in spite of whatever press release claims or probe is announced.
We'll see, but odds on this scandal, along with all of the past ones, will simply be diffused, action delayed until the Banksters and their evil cohorts believe no longer is anybody paying attention. Corporations simply run out the clock on scandals as a strategy. Like most night creatures, once the spotlight is off, we can bank on the financial sector will be business as usual. That includes their contagion creating, inside trading, mega loss generating, nation hostage taking derivatives markets.