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An Open Letter to David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, from Mrs N Turner

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NC readers can find some of the background on Nikki Turner’s story here. 18 months later, five years after her own business was destroyed, and a full decade after the very beginning of the HBOS fraud story, she is still waiting for the police investigation to lead to a prosecution.

Mrs Turner’s open letter was originally published at Ian Fraser’s blog. Ian also blogs at qfinance. His Twitter is @ian_fraser.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I and many other people were stunned by the quotes from Mr Andrew Bailey, the chief executive-designate of the Prudential Regulation Authority, which were reported in the Daily Telegraph yesterday (December 14th, 2012).

Mr Bailey seems to have confirmed that, irrespective of their criminal actions, banks are not only “too big to fail”; they are also “too big to prosecute”. In an interview with the Telegraph, Mr Bailey said that prosecuting banks and by implication their executive and non-executive directors,

“would be a very destabilising issue. It’s another version of too important to fail. Because of the confidence issue with banks, a major criminal indictment, which we haven’t seen and I’m not saying we are going to see… this is not an ordinary criminal indictment.”

Mr Cameron, unless I am completely mistaken, Mr Bailey seems to be telling us that banks, and therefore bankers, are now officially considered to be above the law in this country and that, in the interests of confidence in the banking industry (which is already at rock bottom among the British public, and therefore can hardly sink any lower), they cannot be prosecuted.

I am writing to ask you, as Prime Minister, for some clarification.

Does your government endorse the notion that banks and bankers should be given a licence to commit criminal acts without any fear of prosecution? Is this now official government policy? Are the British public now being asked to accept that, despite incontrovertible evidence of multiple criminal acts by banks, including money-laundering, drug-money-laundering, Libor rigging, multiple frauds and assorted Ponzi schemes, bankers are considered to be immune from prosecution? And if so, can I ask on what grounds your government, or indeed the government of any democratic country, can justify such a policy?

Since this article appeared, I have spoken to several well-informed people who are so outraged by this proposition that they cannot believe Mr Bailey made this statement — the ramifications are so immense and so terrifying to the democratic process.

In his position as chief executive designate of the Prudential Regulation Authority, Mr Bailey has a duty to adhere to the FSA Principles, FSMA 2000 and, of course, the United Kingdom law. Yet it seems this legislation can be overturned without due process, without any regard to the consequences and without any regard to the fact that the regulator — if it fails in its duty to enforce FSMA or to report criminal acts to the relevant authorities — could become an accessory to the crimes it is failing to report.

There is no doubt the people of this country, having been collectively ‘mugged’ by its major financial institutions in recent years, feel completely let down by successive governments, given that the governments have:-

  • Allowed the banks to fail abysmally thanks to the adoption of ‘light touch regulation’ from about 2002;
  • Bailed out failed financial institutions without any enforceable conditions at a cost of scores of billions of pounds;
  • Failed to bring any banker to account despite transparent misdeeds;
  • Permitted bankers to continue to demand and get millions of pounds in rewards for failure while the rest of the country endures ever greater austerity measures;
  • Failed via the regulators to stem the increasing rise of institutional fraud against investors and the general public.

After having been so badly let down by regulators and governments we, the people of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, had been patiently waiting for the law of the land to be applied, in the expectation that people and institutions that are guilty of criminal acts would be held accountable via the justice system. Perhaps naively, we thought that, even where other institutions had failed us, we might rely on the law and the judicial process as the cornerstone of democracy.

Mr Bailey’s statement calls this into question. He would appear to be suggesting what a few of us have long suspected – that there is, in fact, one law for the many and another one for the few. I am afraid, Mr Cameron, that such a scenario cannot work in a democracy. I have spent over five years investigating criminal activity in a major United Kingdom bank and, in April 2012, my husband and I became so concerned about the perceived ability of banks to manipulate the government and judicial processes that we wrote to the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer. In our letter we said:

“….People will have to question whether the Law can fulfil its primary function to protect the public – or whether it has simply become a private members’ club?”

If justice is indeed now a ‘private members’ club’, then it is to up to you, Mr Cameron, to explain this to the British public. And, as I am sure you are aware, there is a real danger that the country will descend into lawlessness if the law is unevenly applied and enforced. If you really intend proceeding down the path seemingly advocated by Mr Bailey, then you risk going down in history as the Prime Minister who did more than any other to undermine the legitimacy of the British state.

I would be grateful to receive confirmation of your government’s official position on Mr Bailey’s statement.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs N Turner

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47 comments

  1. dolleymadison

    Mrs. Truner please know that your brothers and sisters across the pond are with your in spirit if not in deed. We too have watched as Banks have become above the law and in fact ARE the law. From local clerks of courts offices where banks can steal our homes with NO proof of ownership and NO trial, to the control of state and Federal “regulators,” to the open, unabashed ownership of Congress and indeed the Presidency, the Banks have continued to decimate our communities. Perhaps one day the citizenry of both our countries will remember the strength of our ancestors and become free once again. Good Luck to you and God Bless.

  2. Pelham

    Just imagine the shock if Cameron or Obama simply stated the obvious, that bankers are indeed fully above the law. They wouldn’t even have to use loaded language. They could simply say that bankers and their ilk are not subject to law in any form while the rest of us, of course, are. The distinction is that bankers are superior beings and the rest of us are childlike creatures capable only of responding to incarceration and corporal punishment — including, by the way, torture these days.

    Or maybe there’d be no shock at all. We’re sort of used to this kind of treatment, at least here in the States.

    1. Synopticist

      There’s no shock here in the UK either. Outrage fatigue.

      We’ve lost, and they’ve won, basically. The rage has been mis-directed against welfare claimants by the MSM for the past few years, and that’s eventually worked. The banksters are in the clear now.

      This is really no more than a semi-codification of the true state of affairs, anyway.
      it’s actually quite smartly timed, because people will blame the government, which is hugelly unpopular, rather than the power the finacial sector holds. Maybe a year ago, when the govt was doing OK in the polls, TPTB wouldn’t have dared be so explicit.

      1. Nathanael

        Private prosecution time. They’re still legal in the UK.

        We’re SOL in the US; you need to get a majority of a randomly selected grand jury to be willing to prosecute, even while the grand jury is being bullied by the Attorney General.

  3. DavidP

    “Our government…teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.” Louis D. Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice
    Where are those in government today who would stand up for a rule of law equally applied to ALL citizens?

  4. steelhead23

    This and Barofsky’s talk to OWS identify a severe flaw in our “checks and balances” form of government. Since the signing of the Magna Carta, citizens have sought justice through the courts. But if the administration will not prosecute crimes in an evenhanded manner, there is no equal protection under the law. Thus, an independent judiciary is insufficient, we need and should well demand, an independent prosecutor, perhaps within the judiciary, but with no political ties. Today, in the USA, if you cannot afford a lawyer to respond to a criminal complaint, society would provide one for you. Yet, if you have the misfortune to be screwed by the favored few, prosecutors may well use their discretion to screw you again. Perhaps we could fix this after the next revolution.

    1. cripes

      Steelhead23: It’s clear you have never faced a court with a public defender at your side, or you would not describe that as representation. Otherwise, x2.

      1. hunkerdown

        I have. I paid the state $150 for a law student to look at me with mouth agape and silent as if I were stupid. I ended up hiring a (very reasonable) defense attorney upon recommendation of a customer where I worked, and managed better terms than I would have gotten otherwise.

        I will thank you, however, not to feed the meme that government provision inevitably means low quality. It works if you want it to. It doesn’t if you don’t.

        1. DANNYBOY

          hunkerdown,

          “government provision…works if you want it to.”

          Does that come with a Money-Back Guarantee?

          Because I’ve paid lots of taxes, but not feeling so good about getting-what-I’m-getting. In fact what I’m getting is illegal in some states. And hurts a lot.

          1. Carla

            Perhaps hunkerdown meant that government works if those governing want it to, and doesn’t if they don’t.

          2. different clue

            Perhaps we should rethink it to . . . “government works, if we can force it to”. What kind of force, how and where applied, what kind of movement or movements to study and design and apply that force, etc?

    2. Nathanael

      At the state level, most DAs and state Attorney Generals are elected. It would be possible to place honest people in those jobs with an election campaign.

      At the US federal level we are completely screwed.

      In the UK, private prosecutions are the way around the problem.

      1. Carla

        “At the state level, most DAs and state Attorney Generals are elected. It would be possible to place honest people in those jobs with an election campaign.”

        Why would you think this? We have a duopoly (the so-called “two” party system) that is completely corrupt. It may be theoretically possible to elect honest people in these circumstances, but it is extremely difficult and highly unlikely. And when, on occasion, honest people make it to statewide office, they either capitulate to the party structure to stay in office, or they do not win re-election.

        I’m afraid we have a systemic problem, not just at the federal level, but at the state level also.

  5. charles sereno

    Newlaw exempts the privileged from Old Law. In the beginning, it was exceptional (Nixon), in the guise of a pardon. Then it spread to Security State Torturers and Enablers. Now Bankers have been admitted to the Club. Nikki Turner, thank you from all of us for your very eloquent cry.

  6. Tiresias

    Expect Mr. Andrew Bailey to be wheeled before the cameras very shortly, his new scars hidden under his Saville Row suit, his bonuses intact and his privileges restored, to explain that he had been widely misunderstood and certainly never intended to say what everyone knows he said.

    Thus will this momentary revelation of truth, like a frightening lapse into honesty in war, be quickly buried and the comforting fiction that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well as long as you trust in God, or due process, or the shared humanity of your elected leaders, or the Editorial writers of your favourite newspaper or whatever comforting myth you have adopted to be your personal guiding light.

    1. William C

      I know Andrew whom I consider a good as well as highly intelligent man though I have not had cause to speak to him for quite a few years now. I would be pretty confident he knew what he was doing and why. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

      1. DANNYBOY

        Yes, of course Bailey ‘knew what he was doing and why’!

        And of course in Turner’s letter she writes: “the regulator — if it fails in its duty to enforce FSMA or to report criminal acts to the relevant authorities — could become an accessory to the crimes it is failing to report.”

        This is his job. The FSA is the muscle for the City and accessory to their crimes. I just assumed that everyone understood that to be the case.

        1. Nathanael

          With the regulator being an accessory to the crimes, and with the Crown Prosecution Service being an accessory to the crimes, the remaining recourse in the UK is a private prosecution of the whole bloody lot of them.

          Thankfully your judges in the UK are mostly not yet corrupted.

          We have a hell of a lot of corrupt judges in the US, including a majority of our Supreme Court, so we’re in a much worse position.

  7. James F Traynor

    May I make a modest proposal? Nothing to with edible or inedible babies, etc..
    Since government seems to have collapsed on both sides of the pond how about a sort of Sam’s Club. We could call it Removal of the Month Club. Well trained ladies and gentlemen of non gentle persuasion could rid us of these pestiferous bankers et al for a fee. There must be many retired snipers etc. around, former members of the SAS, Special Forces, Spetnaz who wouldn’t mind earning the lucrative fees.

    1. psychohistorian

      I disagree with your modest proposal in that it is directed at the puppets and not the puppet masters behind the curtain.

      And frankly I don’t want to kill the global inherited rich, I just want to end the ongoing inheritance and accumulating private ownership of everything that keeps them in power over our world.

      1. TK421

        Although one does wonder what will happen if–or perhaps when–someone who can shoot a target from half a mile away has their house stolen by a bank, or someone who knows 6 ways to kill a person with a tongue depressor learns their parents’ retirement has been cleaned out by an executive who is “too important to prosecute.”

      2. LifelongLib

        “I don’t want to kill the global inherited rich”

        Me neither. I want to make them so poor they have to get jobs.

    1. DANNYBOY

      Lambert,

      Don’t make him angry with your teasing.

      You know how spiteful these world leaders can be.

      And then we all get punished.

          1. DANNYBOY

            scared into silence, huh?

            afraid to name names.

            well Ive got your back.

            So…is it a different world leader, let’s say of north america?, who is also a NC commenter.

            just wink if i’m right

            otherwise, i think i know who you mean.

            don’t worry about him. i’m on it.

  8. G.J.W.

    Same corruption in Canada, probably the worst corruption, among the “civilized” country’s. Canada is being given to Communist China. The tar sands resources, resource jobs and all. China is being given, all of the mining jobs too.

    Harper gives billions of our tax dollars to, corrupt greedy banks, mines, big business and his favorite charity, big oil. He also gives them huge tax reductions.

    Prime Minister Harper gave a speech on, Global Governance for Canada. You heard of the 1% governing the world? P.M. Harper said. Global Governance has been worked on, since 1945. They must have loved Hitler’s idea of a Third Reich. Perhaps, this will be the Fourth Reich? P.M. Gordon Brown had argued very heavily for Global Governance for Britain too. The U.S. is in on it. They have their, Global Governance roundtable as well. Global Governance is to provide stability, for the inequality of poverty stricken citizens of the world. Canada and the U.S. are trying to get rid of Unions. They only want, the very wealthy and the very poor. It’s more like, Global Governance wants a huge cheap labor pool. No middle class people, will be permitted.

    1. Nathanael

      Well, you all know that Harper is a criminal; even Parliament knows.

      The problem is that there have been too many bribable Liberals in the Canadian Parliament to get rid of him.

      The only solution is for the opposition to unite behind the NDP. You still can’t do anything until the next general election, but it’s the only way to go.

      1. Nathanael

        Notice that you’re better off than the UK (three major parties corrupt; Scottish Nationalists only reasonable choice, but they don’t run candidates in England).

        And you’re far better off than Ireland (Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Irish Labour all corrupt, Sinn Fein too much of a violent history to win backing, most of the minor parties are silly Trotskyists — who the hell are the Irish supposed to vote for? People Before Profit Alliance I suppose? )

  9. Chris Rogers

    No shock at all with Cameron and the ‘Ruling Elite’ now actually running the UK in the interests of the City of London and their tax avoiding colleagues!

  10. OMF

    Dear Mrs Turner,

    Fuck off Pleb.

    Yours ,

    The Right Honorable D. Cameron,
    Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
    Leader of Her Majesty’s Government, and Parliment
    And Head Batman to the the Great Banks of the City of London.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      When I was back there in
      Seminary school
      There was a person there
      Who put forth the proposition
      That you can petition the Lord
      With prayer
      Petition the Lord with prayer
      Petition the Lord with prayer
      You cannot petition the Lord
      With prayer

      The Doors, lyrics J. Morrison

  11. diptherio

    “…undermine the legitimacy of the British state.”

    Wait a minute…I didn’t know the British state had legitimacy. When did that happen? When has any state had legitimacy? The foundations of all modern states lie deep within the bowels of hard-core sociopathy (Cf. history).

    Can’t undermine something which never was.

  12. readerOfTeaLeaves

    So Bailey told the Telegraph?
    Hmmmm… seems the Telegraph is held offshore…

    The Telegraph newspapers are held offshore, via two Jersey entities, the May Corporation and Press Holdings, then ultimately by a Bermuda-registered entity called B UK Ltd. Aidan Barclay is a director of the latter entity, according to company documents. It is not clear which of these offshore companies is regarded as UK tax resident, and thus liable for British taxes. Barclay declines to say.

    A recent high court judgment ruled that much of the Barclay twins’ business empire, including the Telegraph newspapers, is physically managed by Aidan and a group of four senior executives from a office at 20 St James’s Street in central London.

    So the news about two sets of rules — one for the rich — is being published in a newspaper that is held offshore, for which the Brits can’t seem to wrangle tax fees out of the owners (who apparently would rather manipulate money via shell corporations than contribute to a functioning society).

    It seems that such a paper might not actually understand there is anything wrong with Bailey’s claims.

    Which explains some part of the emergence of blogs.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/dec/17/barclay-brothers-vat-windfall-bid

  13. Mrs N Turner

    Many thanks for all the comments on my letter. sadly I have not had a reply from Mr Cameron and, to be honest, I would be surprised to get one – what could he say in the circumstances?

    However, if I do get one, I will let Naked Capitalism know. If I don’t get one I will keep posing the question – are bankers officially considered to be above the law? And if the answer is yes, then as my 21 year old daughter asked me – where does that leave the rest of us?

    1. DANNYBOY

      I am in your service. I wish I had an explanation for your daughter that could make sense of this all.

  14. Georgia

    Democracy has been so fraudulently ill applied and so recklessly abused by people who do not understand its meaning, that one could exclaim “Oh, Democracy, how many crimes have been committed in thy name!”
    Time of sowing, time of reaping…

Comments are closed.