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Europe to Put Interest Rate Fixers in Jail

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Prospectively only, it seems. But we see “criminal” and “banking” in the same sentence so rarely in official circles that this is a welcome development. We’ve pointed out in the past that the Eurozone has been much more willing to talk and even occasionally get tough with bankers. They’ve been more serious about considering transaction taxes and imposed tough rules on private equity funds (most important being limits on leverage, so they will leave fewer bankrupt carcasses in their wake).

From the Independent:

The European Commission is set to make interest rate-rigging a criminal act in the wake of the Libor scandal.

In amendments to the Market Abuse Directive to be announced on Wednesday, it is expected that the Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, and financial services commissioner, Michel Barnier, will ensure that anyone caught rate-rigging will be jailed.

There has been frustration that the UK’s Financial Services Authority and the Serious Fraud Office have appeared toothless over the Libor manipulation, which helped Barclays traders hide losses and improve their financial positions. Thus far, only Barclays has been fined, £291m, though FSA chairman Lord Turner is preparing a hard-hitting speech attacking the City’s debased culture on Tuesday.

The European Parliament is also tabling amendments that will focus on making Libor and other potential areas for rigging, such as currency trading, criminal acts. Separately, the commission might also look into whether rate-rigging counted as cartel activity.

NC readers should also be cheered by the report in this piece that the efforts of the banksters to have an international settlement are pretty certain to go nowhere.

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20 comments

  1. YankeeFrank

    I wish, if I were caught stealing trillions, hell, make it thousands, that the worst I would suffer would be to have to sit through a hard-hitting speech scolding me for being a bad boy, and to threaten me with jail if I ever did it again! What are we saying? That bankers are four year old bratty children?

  2. mad as hell.

    Every time I see a bank robbery video on the local “details at 11″ news porn station, I think of Robin Hood. They should be getting medals not years in prison.

  3. polistra

    LIBOR was a criminal invention. Its entire purpose was to enable the Bank Mafia to control the world’s finances with a turn of a single knob.

    So this prosecution is not analogous to catching criminals. It’s more like the Mafia punishing incompetent gangsters who screwed up a racket and made it visible to the cops.

    Now that the incompetent racketeers have been cleared out, the smooth operators can proceed with the scam.

    1. Cnut

      The Next? You mean oil prices have always perfectly reflected the balance between supply and demand?

  4. Patccmoi

    Is fraud not an actual crime? Do you require a very specific law for every specific potential fraud scenario to be able to act on it? This is ridiculous.

    1. F. Beard

      Banking ITSELF is a fraud (“Your deposit is available on demand even though we lent it out”) but to too many it is a necessary evil. It isn’t. Banking was “conceived in inequity and born in sin” yet we still cling to after centuries of proof of its evil.

    2. rob

      evidently,in the “real” world,to commit a crime in any market,there must be a law that prohibits a particular action at a specifc time of day, on a certain day of the month, with a specific persons name attached,while wearing certain shoes with particular inflection of the voice … while being witnessed by 60 persons in the least…and when asked if you did it…. you must say yes…then you are guilty.It is not enough to just be caught coming out of the bank with a bag of money….I agree….The laws are a sham.

  5. Jessica

    In Europe, it is Germany that is calling the tune right now. Even though clearly the banks are calling the shots in Germany at the moment, I don’t think they have the kind of total control that the banks etc. do in the US and the UK.
    Objectively speaking, the finance sector in the EU mostly benefits the UK and it is in the UK that the finance sector is the holy cow local industry.
    Germany identifies with its manufacturing prowess (again unlike the UK or the US). It goes without saying that in much of the rest of Europe, the financial sector is much reviled and clearly perceived as the anti-social force that it is.
    To put it another way, even clamping down on the financial sector’s predations and making it the boring, utility-like sector that it should be, Germany would still have an economy. The UK wouldn’t.
    So there is some possibility that the nationalist divisions within Europe will create a scenario in which the financial sector is reigned in. This would almost certainly require a powerful social movement as the backdrop but at least that social movement might not be facing the same kind of unified (in support of financial predation) elite that is and will be present in the US and the UK.

  6. Stephen Gardner

    Making it a crime now seems like closing the barn door after the horse is long gone. Wouldn’t you say? The banks will just find another way to game the system. We have to have regulations that are flexible enough to apply to new scams and regulators who have society’s interests at heart instead of the interests of the banking cartels. That will only happen when we manage to achieve democratic control over the current oligarchy.

  7. JGordon

    I am virtually certain that whenever Obama and Holder finds out who was fixing those interest rates here in America, something big will happen. Like they’ll all be given a Medal of Freedom or something.

  8. Gareth

    Every time I read one of these stories I get the impulse to go out an steal something.

  9. credit repair

    does a debit card repair credit in the same way that a secured credit card does? if not, what’s the best secured credit card out there (lowest cost, etc.)

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