Of course, this inter-Predator fighting is precisely why the rest of us should be so interested. The only time we little guys have ANY chance to get our agendas heard is when the big guys start beating up on each other.
Anyway, we start with some basic definitions.
The story grows. The scandal simply could NOT have stopped at Barclays.
What Does London's LIBOR Mean To The U.S.?Listen to the Story
July 7, 2012
Many of us were introduced to the term LIBOR for the first time this week, when it was revealed that some banks might have been manipulating the dull but vital interest rates to gain an edge in the market.
LIBOR – the London Interbank Offered Rate – is a series of interest rates determined by a handful of representatives from the biggest banks in London. The rates are what the banks would charge other banks to borrow on different loan categories, which determines the global flow of billions of dollars and perhaps even the interest rate on your savings account or home mortgage.
"We're talking about the reference rate by which ... the most complex derivative to the credit card in your pocket is actually set," says Mark Blyth, an economist at Brown University.
The scandal forced chairman Marcus Agius and CEO Bob Diamond of British banking giant Barclays to resign, and the company has agreed to pay $455 million in fines to regulators in the U.K. and U.S. It was at Barclays that emails appeared to show bankers willing to manipulate the rate, but several other banks — including American ones — are now under investigation. more
Another Domino Falls in the LIBOR Banking Scam: Royal Bank of ScotlandPOSTED: June 29, 7:06 AM ET
Another one bites the dust. The Royal Bank of Scotland is about to be fined $233 million (£150 million pounds) for its role in the Libor-rigging scandal. It joins Barclays as the first banks to walk the plank in what should be, but so far is not, the most sensational financial corruption story since the crash of 2008.
Many of the banks implicated in the Libor mess have also been targeted in the various municipal bond bid-rigging investigations, and RBS is no different – its subsidiary Natwest is also a defendant in the major civil lawsuit in the bid-rigging case. The cases aren't related, except in the sense that they both involve manipulation and anticompetitive cooperation. It's going to be harder and harder to make the case that the major banks do not routinely cooperate at the expense of the public when it serves their purposes to do so.
The news that RBS is involved comes with a perverse twist. This is from the Times UK:
The bank, which is 82 per cent owned by the taxpayer, is preparing for a political firestorm over the affair because it believes that it has no power to claw back bonuses from the traders responsible. Instead, the expected fines would be borne by the shareholders — largely the Government.Libor manipulation is a crime that already robs the public to create bonuses for bankers. By artificially lowering interest rates, the banks caused cities, towns, countries, and other public entities to receive smaller returns on their variable-rate investment holdings. If it turns out that taxpayers end up paying the fine for RBS's crime of robbing taxpayers, how perfect would that be? more
LIBOR Banking Scandal Deepens; Barclays Releases Damning Email, Implicates British GovernmentPOSTED: July 4, 11:35 AM ET
This Libor-manipulation story grows crazier with each passing minute. We have officially disappeared now down the rabbit-hole of the international financial oligarchy.
Former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond is testifying before parliament in London today, and that's sure to bring some shocking moments. But there's already been one huge stunner. In advance of that testimony, Barclays released an email from October 29, 2008, written by Diamond to then-Chairman John Varley and COO Jerry del Messier (who also stepped down yesterday). The email from the CEO to the other two senior Barclays execs purports to detail the content of the conversation Diamond had with Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker that same day.
In the email, Diamond essentially tells the other two execs that he has been given permission by Tucker – encouraged, actually – to rig Libor rates downward. What’s even worse is that Diamond’s email suggests that Tucker was only following orders, i.e. that Tucker had received phone calls from "a number of senior figures within Whitehall" – that is, the British government – expressing concern about Barclays' high Libor rates. Tucker in this version of events was acting as a middleman for the British government, telling Diamond to fake his borrowing rates in order to preserve the appearance of financial stability, for the good of Queen and country as it were. more
Bob Diamond would have known about Libor rigging, claims whistleblowerFormer senior Barclays employee says bank executives would have been told about interest rate fixing concerns in 2008
David Batty guardian.co.uk, Saturday 7 July 2012 11.02
A former senior Barclays employee has claimed that the bank's ex-chief executive Bob Diamond would have known that his traders were involved in the interest rate rigging scandal.
The whistleblower's accusation comes after the bank announced on Friday that it had begun a formal investigation into attempts to fix Libor, meaning that criminal charges could be brought against implicated traders.
The banker alleged that Barclays executives would have been informed about Libor concerns in 2008, adding that staff knew they faced the sack if they failed to inform senior managers of untoward behaviour. more
Yes, Virginia, the Real Action in the Libor Scandal Was in the DerivativesFRIDAY, JULY 6, 2012
As the Libor scandal has given an outlet for long-simmering anger against wanker bankers in the UK, there have been some efforts in the media to puzzle out who might have won or lost from the manipulations, as well as arguments that they were as “victimless” or helped people (as in reporting an artificially low Libor during the crisis led to lower interest rate resets on adjustable rate loans pegged to Libor; what’s not to like about that?)
What we have so far is a lot of drunk under the streetlight behavior: people trying to relate the scandal to the part that is most visible and easy to understand, meaning the loan market that keys off Libor. As much as that’s a really big number ($10 trillion), it is trivial compared to the relevant derivatives. From the FSA letter to Barclays:
The Eurodollar futures contract traded on the CME in Chicago (which is the largest interest rate futures contract by volume in the world) has US dollar LIBOR as its reference rate. The value of volume of that contract traded in 2011 was over 564 trillion US dollars.This is only one blooming exchange contract, albeit a monster of a contract. There are loads of OTC contracts in addition to that:
Interest rate derivative contracts typically contain payment terms that refer to benchmark rates. LIBOR and EURIBOR are by far the most prevalent benchmark rates used in euro, US dollar and sterling OTC interest rate derivatives contracts and exchange traded interest rate contracts. more
Meet the BanksterAnd if this is too much reading, we have a nice video that explains a great deal about this scandal in about nine minutes.
The Decline of Barclaysby BINOY KAMPMARK
There is a putrescence coming from the banks of what Londoners term ‘The City’, an intense odour of disgust suggesting old tricks from the seasoned and the crooked. The resignation this week of Barclay’s CEO Bob Diamond should not have been the bombshell it became but even after years of banking mismanagement, the public has yet to be desensitised to the antics of the bankster.
The former Barclays chief executive, who quit on Tuesday under pressure from the Bank of England and the financial regulator, more or less conceded that Libor, or the London Interbank Offered Rate, had been manipulated by the bank with frequency. Such behaviour has earned Barclays fines from regulators on both sides of the Atlantic in the vicinity of $441 million. Rigging the rate, it seems, was a banking motto.
A spate of resignations have ensued – chairman Marcus Agius, formerly of Lazard, went on Monday, Diamond on Tuesday kept company with chief operating officer Jerry del Missier. For his part, Diamond unconvincingly claimed before the Treasury Select Committee that he had no knowledge of the interest rate fiddling in October 2008. more