Ann Pettifor

E-petition for public inquiry into bankers’ misdeeds

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Following the gentle fines on Barclays Bank for its sustained manipulation of LIBOR interest rates, I have submitted an e-petition to government for a judicial public inquiry. The terms are as follows:

Public inquiry into wrongdoing and ethics of bankers

We the undersigned call for an independent, judicial public enquiry into fraud, wrongdoing and ethics of British banks, their management and their staff, and the role of the British Bankers Association. This inquiry should include the manipulation of interest rates on about £225 trillion of assets. This inquiry must have full powers to compel witnesses to appear on oath, and to obtain all forms of evidence.”

I will inform you as soon as I receive confirmation (government websites do not move rapidly!).

I first raised the issue of corrupt manipulation of LIBOR four years ago, in May 2008, in an article here on the Debtonation blogsite. I concluded:

“In other words, these bankers may have been fibbing. And the implication is that the Libor rate should have been much higher. How would we know? The process is not regulated, and therefore not publicly accountable. But the crisis of confidence in this privately fixed process is real. Watch this space.”

I watched this space for 4 years, but can’t help feeling that the UK’s Financial Services Authority were, er, a little lacking in gumption in choosing to describe Barclays’ behaviour on LIBOR manipulation (which to us bears a family resemblance to dishonestly obtaining by deception) as “inappropriate” on numerous occasions. For example,

“It was inappropriate for Barclays to make US dollar LIBOR and EURIBOR submissions which took its Derivatives Traders’ positions (or the positions of traders at other banks) into account.”

See their Final Notice dated 27th June for their findings.

The US Commodities Futures Trading Commission, by contrast, upped the adjectival ante, as well as the financial penalty, for example:

“The CFTC Order also finds that Barclays, acting at the direction of senior management, engaged in other serious unlawful conduct concerning LIBOR.” (author’s emphasis).

Not at all “inappropriate”, I feel.


12 thoughts on “E-petition for public inquiry into bankers’ misdeeds”

  1. It’s about time these ‘spivs’ were reined in.
    The ‘loadsamoney’ attitude that exists amongst employees in the investment arms of the big banks is outrageous. They need to understand that their reckless behaviour has ruined many peoples lives. If their behaviour is not criminal, there is something wrong with the law. It’s just one smart stroke after another, their MUST be a deterrent to such skullduggery.

  2. Gillian Oberlin-Harris

    Bankers have been robbing the poor and middle to fund selfish lavish, lifestyles and posh houses for themselves for too long. They have wrecked western economies, and caused a massive economic implosion. They have increased poverty and deprivation for the people at the bottom of the pecking order, not just in Britain, but in some of the poorest World economies. Some children are starving and dying, while they have their snouts in the trough. It is immoral and unethical. Is there any honest bank?

  3. They keep saying we need to pay these *ankers these vast salaries to make sure the best people take the jobs – isn’t it time we cut the wages and tried the ‘second best’ ? Surely they couldn’t do a worse job than this shower! Sack the lot of them they’re all criminals and seem to be arrogantly proud of what they’ve done..

  4. I simply cannot understand how the police and serious fraud office cannot be investigating for potential prosecutions. Quite frankly the FSA having any meaningful role to play in this is laughable; they’ve always been a completely impotent (and incompetent) institution. I’m now a doctor but used to work in investment banking. I never take part in debates on such matters but this has made by blood boil. This is a case of insider trading when you get down to it. There’s nothing ambiguous about it – a crime has been committed and those responsible need to be brought to justice. I think the government has seriously underestimated the public mood on this and their appetite for “heads to roll”. We don’t need some kind of “Leveson inquiry” either; a straightforward criminal case brought by the CPS will do. If prosecutions are succesfully brought I don’t think the public want an 18-month holiday in an open prison either. Prison probably not a big deal for a lot of the “city spivs” involved, but clawing back “proceeds of crime” – that might be effective and concentrate some minds.

  5. The law provides adequate legislation to prosecute any individual found guilty of ‘conspiracy to defraud…..’ or perhaps on a lesser charge ‘obtaining money by deception’.. The reason the SFO has not acted is nothing to do with funding – the individuals and organisations perpetuating wholesale fraud on any individual or institution not fortunate enough to be ‘in on the game’ are part of a ruling hierarchy – immaterial of their political affiliatation.

    To take on the Establishment elite – the red, blue, the yellow and indeed the insiduous linkages with the monarchy will be near on impossible. These people close ranks and as they hold all the strings – including the media natch – without the Brtish people awaking from their celebrity inducted torpor they will continue to treat us all with the contempt they do not even atttempt to disguise. To listen to David Cameron lecture the populace about the ‘culture on entitlement’ he is bent on destroying would be hilarious if it wasn’t so serious.

    Wake up England – our soldiers are dying in a pointless ‘war’, we are receiving food parcels – homelessness in London has rocketed …….Dark times are upon us and we should realise we are being robbed blind with impunity. Duck house anyone ?????

  6. There used to be building societies in the UK which we could assume were reasonably honest and acting in the public interest but they have all been taken over by banks, like the Alliance and Leicester which has vanished. Now the smaller banks will be gobbled up by the big banksters who think they can get away with anything including theft of ‘protected’ depositors balances. The answer is legislation for the confiscation of salary and bonuses, otherwise clawback, for the last five years of everyone involved, fines in the billions, and good behaviour bonds, until order is restored, or before someone is strung up- literally.

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