A trillion here, a trillion there and pretty soon you’re talking about big money – big money like the half a quadrillion dollars Barclays Bank manipulated by illegally fixing interest rates effecting mortgages and loans around the globe. That makes Jamie Dimon’s JPMorgan losses – originally at $2 billion, now $9 billion and counting – look like some lost change from the shoebox at a lemonade stand.
Maybe Dimon was right to take his king-sized bonus. Compared to Barclays’ malfeasance, he did do a significantly better job by only frittering away $9 billion of someone else’s money.
A series of emails, reminiscent of the tone of the snarky market-gaming energy traders at Enron, reveals how the Barclays faked reports to the British Bankers’ Association which, in turn, helped diddle the London Interbank Office Rate (LIBOR) – the rate of interbank loans – for fun and profit or loss. Of course like most bankers, the Barclays Boys made money either way.
Your Name in Golden Letters
The content of the emails shows the callous attitude the bankers had about screwing the world economy.
“As always, any help wd be greatly appreciated,” one trader wrote about fudging the 3-month LIBOR.
“I am going 90 altho 91 is what I should be posting,” another trader replied.
“When I retire and write a book about this business your name will be written in golden letters,” the first trader said.
“I would prefer this not be in any book!” came the answer.
Yeah, I’ll bet.
Break Out the Good Stuff
Even more craven was this exchange offering a drink for a “little” help.
“Duuuude. whats up with ur guys 34.5 3m fix . tell him to get it up!” a trader asked his colleague at another bank.
“If it comes in unchanged I’m a dead man,” he said, but promised the trader he’d “have a chat.”
When Barclays’ rate came in lower the trader sent a thank-you note: “Dude. I owe you big time! Come over one day after work and I’m opening a bottle of Bollinger.”
Damned expensive bottle of bubbly, but the punishments handed out so far are laughable. British courts have wrist-slapped Barclays with fines totaling $453 million. That would be $453 million against shenanigans of half a quadrillion. Boy that’s showing them.
Of course, British authorities are still investigating and may file criminal charges later. Authorities are also looking into Switzerland’s UBS, Britain’s HSBC, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and so the Americans don’t lose face in the criminal world … U.S. grifters Citibank and Bank of America.
Crack Open Another Bottle and Gather the Muskets!
If prior cases are any indication, fines will be light to non-existent and criminals will be lucky to escape with a 5% cut in their yearly bonuses.
Clearly bankers have still not learned the lesson that playing 3-card Monte with the world economy is a bad, bad thing. And unrestricted corporatists haven’t learned the lesson that business is no more trustworthy than government when it comes to not acting like Genghis Khan in the world financial markets. Their behavior is beyond shocking, beyond immoral, beyond … beyond … well, I don’t think English even has a word to describe these crapweasels on ‘roids.
If dipshits can advocate armed insurrection against the U.S. government over health care for people who can’t afford it – many of whom are poor from the thorough screwing asshats like these doled out – perhaps armed insurrection against the international banking cabal is in order too.
Crack another bottle of Bollinger and gather up the muskets!
- BBC News – Barclays: Cameron says bank faces ‘serious questions’ (2012indyinfo.com)
- UK drafts in fraud squad as Libor fine hits Barclays – Reuters UK (uk.reuters.com)
- Barclays scandal: what they did and why Diamond ‘has to go’ (theweek.co.uk)
- Barclays Big-Boy Breaches Mean Libor Fixes Not Enough – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- After Barclays, the golden age of finance is dead (telegraph.co.uk)
- Barclays Libor scandal: live – Telegraph.co.uk (telegraph.co.uk)
- Banks face criminal probe threat (standard.co.uk)
- Dude! Casual sounding bankers’ e-mails tell chilling story of financial misdeeds (washingtonpost.com)
- Banking scandal: Fraud office called in over Barclays rate-rigging (scotsman.com)