Just days after Hillary Clinton is found to have negligently broken laws but faced no charges, four former Barclays bankers appear to have been scapegoated over their libor-rigging. 45-year-old Jay Merchant was the hardest hit – sentenced to 6 1/2 Years in prison.
As Bloomberg reports,
Four former Barclays Plc traders were sentenced to as many as 6 1/2 years in prison for manipulating the Libor interest-rate benchmark as U.K. judges continued meting out tough punishments for white-collar crime.
Jay Merchant, 45, was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison.
Peter Johnson, 61, and Jonathan Mathew, 35, received four years in prison.
Alex Pabon, 38, will serve two years and nine months in jail.
The convictions are a “major victory” for the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, which conducted the investigation.
In 2007, more than a dozen of the world’s largest banks colluded to deliberately depress the rate at which they paid out on investments. This rate is known as the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), which is the average of interest rates estimated by each of the leading banks in London that it would be charged were it to borrow from other banks.
Financial institutions, mortgage lenders, and credit card agencies around the world, set their own rates relative to it, and at least $350 trillion in derivatives and other financial products are tied to the LIBOR. These mega banks suppressed LIBOR, during the beginning of the collapse, to boost earnings and make their bottom lines appear healthier. Continue reading »
Update: Hayes has been sentenced to 14 years in jail.
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Tom Hayes, the former UBS trader standing trial for his role in manipulating LIBOR, was found guilty on eight counts in a London court. The jury, which deliberated for a week, was unanimous in its decision. To wit, from Bloomberg:
Former UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. trader Tom Hayes, the first person to stand trial for manipulating Libor, was found guilty of eight counts of conspiracy to rig the benchmark rate.Continue reading »
Back in April, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay $2.5 billion (or around $25,475 per employee) to the DoJ, the CFTC, the NY Department for Financial Services, and the UK’s FCA in connection with the bank’s role in the global conspiracy to rig LIBOR (and EURIBOR, and TIBOR, but who’s counting). The fine marked the largest LIBOR-related settlement thus far but as usual, regulators stopped short of insisting that the actual human beings responsible for the manipulation of a benchmark upon which trillions in financial assets are based be put behind bars. In other words, no people were held accountable.
That said, we got a faint glimmer of hope on the accountability front when, late last month, FT reported that the German financial watchdog BaFin was looking into whether (former) co-CEO Anshu Jain lied to the Bundesbank about when he first learned that his traders and submitters might have been involved in fixing the LIBOR fixes. Continue reading »
“Mr. Jain created an environment by the physical and functional restructuring of the business GFFX division in the year 2005, involving also a change in the seating order of the trading floor in London which he initiated in which conflicts of interest between traders and submitters arose or were strengthened. There is suspicion that Mr. Jain might have knowingly made incorrect statements in his IBOR related Interview with the Deutsche Bundesbank.”
Just like in the case of Goldman’s first of its kind MBS settlement which unleashed over $200 billion in legal charges against the US banking system (an IRR of about 1% relative to the criminal gains) and which in turn cast all the blame on the infamous Fabrice Tourre who was the solitary scapegoat for all of Goldman’s Abacus transgressions, so when it comes to Libor rigging at one of the biggest culprits, Swiss bank UBS, all the senior executives are trying to put all the blame on 35-year old Tom Hayes who is the centerpiece of the prosecution’s case against Libor manipulator.
The only problem: Hayes won’t go down without a fight and unlike Tourre who may well have been promised a Swiss bank account with many zeroes in it on the other side, Hayes is fighting back and making it very clear that it wasn’t just him who was rigging Libor. It was everyone. And everyone knew about it, from the traders on to the very top.
His proof: a Libor “manipulation” manual, presented as evidence in court.Continue reading »
The name Dick Usher is familiar to regular readers: he was the head of spot foreign exchange for JPMorgan, and the bank’s alleged chief FX market manipulator, who was promptly fired after it was revealed that JPM was the bank coordinating the biggest FX rigging scheme in history, as initially revealed in “Another JPMorganite Busted For “Bandits’ Club” Market Manipulation.” Subsequent revelations – which would have been impossible without the tremendous reporting of Bloomberg’s Liam Vaughan – showed that JPM was not alone: as recent legal actions confirmed, virtually every single bank was also a keen FX rigging participant. However, the undisputed ringleader was always America’s largest bank, which would make sense: having a virtually unlimited balance sheet, JPM could outlast practically any margin call, and make money while its far smaller peers were closed out of trades… and existence. Continue reading »
http://usawatchdog.com/zero-prosecuti… Fraud expert and former regulator Professor William Black says, “Even today, we are well into 2014, and the Department of Justice record is intact. There have been zero prosecutions of the elite officers who led the epic epidemic of fraud. It was the most destructive in world history, zero of them even unsuccessfully prosecuted, much less prosecuted.”
What is the result of massive rampant unprosecuted fraud? Professor Black says, “If you don’t have any accountability, you not only make certain that there is going to be a next blow-up, but it will be worse. . . . We have effectively removed the criminal laws for a particular elite class of frauds.”
Join Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com as he goes One-on-One with Professor William Black of UMKC.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
Remember when banks were exposed manipulating virtually everything except precious metals, because obviously nobody ever manipulates the price of gold and silver? After all, the biggest “conspiracy theory” of all is that crazy gold bugs blame every move against them on some vile manipulator. It may be time to shift yet another conspiracy “theory” into the “fact” bin, thanks to Elke Koenig, the president of Germany’s top financial regulator, Bafin, which apparently is not as corrupt, complicit and clueless as its US equivalent, and who said that in addition to currency rates, manipulation of precious metals “is worse than the Libor-rigging scandal.” Hear that Bart Chilton and friends from the CFTC?
On November 1st, 1961, an agreement was reached between the central banks of the United States and seven European countries to cooperate in achieving a shared, and very clearly stated, aim.
The agreement became known as the London Gold Pool, and it had a very explicit purpose: to keep the price of gold suppressed “under control” and pegged regulated at $35/oz. through interventions in the London gold market whenever the price got to be a little… frisky.
The construct was a simple one.
The eight central banks would all chip in an amount of gold to the initial “kitty.” Then they would sell enough of the pooled gold to cap any price rises and then replace that which they had been forced to sell on any subsequent weakness.
*Statement is subject to standard terms and conditions and is not necessarily reflective of any evidence. Government entities are excluded from inclusion based on the fact that we can’t really do anything about them and anyway; they could put us out of business; and it would make things really, really bad for them. Also, bullion banks are not covered under this statement because we were told to turn a blind eye; but individual investors are, and we can categorically confirm that, to the best of our knowledge, no individuals are manipulating the precious metals markets (at this time).
But, as Grant Williams explains in this excellent and complete summary of the history of Gold price manipulation, things don’t always go as planned…Continue reading »
In what is a staggering example of not only state meddling in the affairs of the “free press”, but worse, sheer state idiocy, yesterday the WSJ posted an article on its website revealing that as many as 24 co-conspirators would be exposed shortly in the ongoing Libor manipulation scandal and divulging the names of various individuals on this list. What promptly followed was truly bizarre. As the WSJ reports shortly after posting the article, “a British judge ordered the Journal and David Enrich, the newspaper’s European banking editor, to comply with a request by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office prohibiting the newspaper from publishing names of individuals not yet made public in the government’s ongoing investigation into alleged manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, or Libor.” This happened at 7:18 pm London time, after the original WSJ article had already hit the Internet.
The WSJ added that “The order, which applies to publication in England and Wales, also demanded that the Journal remove “any existing Internet publication” divulging the details. It threatened Mr. Enrich and “any third party” with penalties including a fine, imprisonment and asset seizure.”
As a result, the media organization decided to comply with this gross example state censorship, and now in the place of the article, one could find the following note:
Move follows decision to strip BBA of its association with benchmark rate, which will be run by a London-based subsidiary
Libor might stand for the London interbank offered rate, but from next year the scandal-hit benchmark rate will be set by the body that runs the New York Stock Exchange in the latest attempt to clean up the City.
Libor, which is used to price $300tn (£192tn) of financial products around the world, has been overseen until now by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA). But its integrity has been questioned after banks and other financial firms were found to have rigged the rate.
Traders at some of the world’s biggest banks manipulated benchmark foreign-exchange rates used to set the value of trillions of dollars of investments, according to five dealers with knowledge of the practice.
Following last night’s revelation that FX trading is the latest addition to the “rigged” column, here is a summary of the known market manipulation scandals (because it can be problematic keeping track of all by now):
We also know that the Fed and world central banks are engaged in a full blown (and unprecedented) Treasury curve modeling exercise courtesy of both ZIRP (short-end) and QE (long-end), and that courtesy of some $12 trillion in extra liquidity in the past 5 years, stocks are at an artificial “weath effect” sugar high. Continue reading »
U.S. Congressional Record February 9, 1917, page 2947
Congressman Calloway announced that the J.P. Morgan interests bought 25 of America’s leading newspapers, and inserted their own editors, in order to control the media.
Mr. CALLAWAY: Mr. Chairman, under unanimous consent, I insert into the Record at this point a statement showing the newspaper combination, which explains their activity in the war matter, just discussed by the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. MOORE]:
“In March, 1915, the J.P. Morgan interests, the steel, ship building and powder interests and their subsidiary organizations, got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press in the United States.
“These 12 men worked the problems out by selecting 179 newspapers, and then began, by an elimination process, to retain only those necessary for the purpose of controlling the general policy of the daily press throughout the country. They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers. The 25 papers were agreed upon; emissaries were sent to purchase the policy, national and international, of these papers; an agreement was reached; the policy of the papers was bought, to be paid for by the month; an editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information regarding the questions of preparedness, militarism, financial policies and other things of national and international nature considered vital to the interests of the purchasers.
“This contract is in existence at the present time, and it accounts for the news columns of the daily press of the country being filled with all sorts of preparedness arguments and misrepresentations as to the present condition of the United States Army and Navy, and the possibility and probability of the United States being attacked by foreign foes.
“This policy also included the suppression of everything in opposition to the wishes of the interests served. The effectiveness of this scheme has been conclusively demonstrated by the character of the stuff carried in the daily press throughout the country since March, 1915. They have resorted to anything necessary to commercialize public sentiment and sandbag the National Congress into making extravagant and wasteful appropriations for the Army and Navy under false pretense that it was necessary. Their stock argument is that it is ‘patriotism.’ They are playing on every prejudice and passion of the American people.”
So FORGET about the Illuminati (the real elitists) and just blame their bankster elite puppets, their government elite puppets (like Obama, Bush, Clinton etc.) and their corporate media presstitutes for everything instead!!!
Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world’s largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything.
You may have heard of the Libor scandal, in which at least three – and perhaps as many as 16 – of the name-brand too-big-to-fail banks have been manipulating global interest rates, in the process messing around with the prices of upward of $500 trillion (that’s trillion, with a “t”) worth of financial instruments. When that sprawling con burst into public view last year, it was easily the biggest financial scandal in history – MIT professor Andrew Lo even said it “dwarfs by orders of magnitude any financial scam in the history of markets.”
That was bad enough, but now Libor may have a twin brother. Word has leaked out that the London-based firm ICAP, the world’s largest broker of interest-rate swaps, is being investigated by American authorities for behavior that sounds eerily reminiscent of the Libor mess. Regulators are looking into whether or not a small group of brokers at ICAP may have worked with up to 15 of the world’s largest banks to manipulate ISDAfix, a benchmark number used around the world to calculate the prices of interest-rate swaps.
Interest-rate swaps are a tool used by big cities, major corporations and sovereign governments to manage their debt, and the scale of their use is almost unimaginably massive. It’s about a $379 trillion market, meaning that any manipulation would affect a pile of assets about 100 times the size of the United States federal budget. Continue reading »
With all the recent chatter about an overhaul and dismantling of Too Big To Fail banks (spoiler alert: it will never happen, but it will take a lot of theater before that is made quite clear) many can be excused for believing the balance of power has shifted away from the megabanks (and their tens of trillions in over the counter derivative “weapons of mass financial destruction” so ably facilitating the Stockholm Syndrome of global mutual assured destruction with each passing day) and in the favor of the people, represented by the legislative (the same people who are multi-millionaires mostly courtesy of endless financial lobbying) and the judicial. Continue reading »
Every morning, from his desk by the bathroom at the far end of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc’s trading floor overlooking London’s Liverpool Street station, Paul White punched a series of numbers into his computer.
White, who had joined RBS in 1984, was one of the employees responsible for the firm’s submissions for the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, the global benchmark for more than $300 trillion of contracts from mortgages and student loans to interest-rate swaps. Behind him sat Neil Danziger, a derivatives trader who had worked at the bank since 2002.
The name Christian Bittar is well-known to regular Zero Hedge readers. Recall from “Deep Into The Lieborgate Rabbit Hole: The Swiss Hedge Fund Link?”: ” just like in the case of Barclays (with Diamond), JPM (with Bruno Iksil), UBS (with Kweku) and Goldman (with Fabrice Tourre), there always is a scapegoat. Today we find just who that scapegoat is. From Bloomberg: “Regulators are investigating the possible roles of Michael Zrihen at Credit Agricole, Didier Sander at HSBC and Christian Bittar at Deutsche Bank, the person said on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.” We proceeded to do a circuitous analysis to find that despite assumptions to the contrary, not only has Mr. Bittar not been expelled from the industry for manipulating Libor, but he is still collecting fat paychecks at Swiss hedge fund BlueCrest, Europe’s third largest, with some $30 billion under management. Today, courtesy of Bloomberg we get the details of how Mr. Bittar departed Deutsche, and just what his responsibilities there were.
First, there were those who said manipulating Libor was at best a mere trifle, generating scrap in terms of profits. Wrong.
Bittar, who joined Deutsche Bank in 2001, was a proprietary trader specializing in short-term derivatives contracts and entitled to a percentage of the profit from his trades, the people said. He took billion-euro positions on the direction of short-term interest rates with the firm’s own money and reaped hundreds of millions of euros in profit for the bank, the people said. The bonuses Deutsche Bank pays its staff typically vest over a three-year period.
As the fallout of Liborgate escalates, the next big bank to be impacted in the fallout started by Barclays civil settlement “revelation” is set to be troubled UBS, already some 10,000 bankers lighter, where as many as three dozen bankers are reported by the implicated in the fixing of the rate that until 2009 was the most important for hundreds of trillions in variable rate fixed income products. Only instead of attacking the US or even European jurisdiction, where the next big settlement is set to hit is Japan: a country whose regulators as recently as half a year ago promised there were no major issues with Libor, or Tibor as it is locally known, rate fixings. And while this most recent development will have little material impact on UBS’ ongoing business model, the one difference from previous settlements is that it will likely include criminal charges lobbed against some of the 36 bankers.
From the FT: “UBS is close to finalising a deal with UK, US and Swiss authorities in which the bank will pay close to $1.5bn and its Japanese securities subsidiary will plead guilty to a US criminal offence. Terms of the guilty plea were still being negotiated, one person familiar with the matter said on Monday, adding that the bank will not lose its ability to conduct business in Japan. The pact between the bank and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, US Department of Justice, UK’s Financial Services Authority and UBS’s main Swiss supervisor Finma is expected to be announced on Wednesday, although last minute negotiations continue.”
“This rumor is 100% false,” a Senate Banking Committee aide, who asked not to be named, told TPM by email. “The Senate Banking Committee does not have any LIBOR hearings currently scheduled, and has never considered either of these men as potential witnesses.”
In the wake of the mass murders that took place in Newtown, Connecticut on Dec. 14, information on the shooter, and his family, is slowly being discovered by law enforcement other sources. One interesting connection to the tragedy that took place at the Sandy Hook school is that the father of Adam Lanza has a connection to the theater shootings that took place in Aurora earlier this year by James Holmes.
Both fathers of the shooters were allegedly expected to testify in the Libor scandal that rocked the banking world in June.
The father of Newtown Connecticut school shooter Adam Lanza is Peter Lanza who is a VP and Tax Director at GE Financial. The father of Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes is Robert Holmes, the lead scientist for the credit score company FICO. Both men were to testify before the US Sentate in the ongoing LIBOR scandal. The London Interbank Offered Rate, known as Libor, is the average interest rate at which banks can borrow from each ot
Gerald Celente, the founder of the Trends Research Institute, at the Marriott Hotel in Munich, Germany, on November 3rd, 2012. Celente was holding a presentation later on on the Internationale Edelmetall- und Rohstoffmesse, the largest precious metals conference in Europe. You can find Gerald Celente at trendsresearch.com and trendsjournal.com.
LONDON – Barclays became the first bank to be ordered to stand trial in a British court over damages stemming from manipulation of the Libor interest rate after a High Court ruling on Monday.
Guardian Care Homes, a residential care home operator based in Wolverhampton, is suing Barclays for up to 37 million pounds ($59 million) over the alleged mis-selling of interest rate hedging products known as swaps.
“Today is a huge milestone with a trial now going forward to determine whether these financial products should be declared void,” Guardian Care Homes’ chief executive Gary Hartland said after the ruling.
The case could also lead to new revelations about the Libor scandal after Guardian Care Homes asked for documents relating to the affair to be disclosed.
The company says it should be fully compensated for its losses because the swap rates were based on the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor). Barclays agreed to pay $450 million in fines to U.S. and British authorities in June to settle allegations that it manipulated Libor and other key interest rates. More than a dozen other banks are also being investigated.
Global financial markets are awash in hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of derivatives. By some estimates, the total amount exceeds one quadrillion.
Derivatives played a central role in the 2008 credit crisis, as they had a brutal multiplying effect on the magnitude of the carnage. As a bad asset was written down, oftentimes there were derivative contracts written against it that resulted in total losses 10x greater than the initial write-down.
But what exactly are derivatives? How do they work?
If you don’t know who the sucker at the card table is, it’s you.
~ old gambler’s saying
What do the following have in common?
LIBOR, Bernie Madoff, MF Global, Peregrine Financial, zero-percent interest rates, the Social Security and Medicare entitlement funds, many state and municipal pension funds, mark-to-model asset values, quote stuffing and high frequency trading (HFT), and debt-based money?
The answer is that every single thing in that list is an example of market rigging, fraud, or both.
In this episode, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss a financial journalist so dangerous the frontpage of the Financial Times dare not speak his name and the semaphore of fraud and fraud flows that is high frequency trading and silver manipulation. They also talk about blonde bimbo regulators and the self-police force that never finds any evidence crimes they themselves have committed. In the second half of the show, Max Keiser talks to whistleblower Paul Moore, a former Head of Risk at HBOS, about financial holocaust and the City of London’s role in enabling banking fraud.