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The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever


Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever

The Illuminati were amateurs. The second huge financial scandal of the year reveals the real international conspiracy: There’s no price the big banks can’t fix

 

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.

It should surprise no one that among the players implicated in this scheme to fix the prices of interest-rate swaps are the same megabanks – including Barclays, UBS, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and the Royal Bank of Scotland – that serve on the Libor panel that sets global interest rates. In fact, in recent years many of these banks have already paid multimillion-dollar settlements for anti-competitive manipulation of one form or another (in addition to Libor, some were caught up in an anti-competitive scheme, detailed in Rolling Stone last year, to rig municipal-debt service auctions). Though the jumble of financial acronyms sounds like gibberish to the layperson, the fact that there may now be price-fixing scandals involving both Libor and ISDAfix suggests a single, giant mushrooming conspiracy of collusion and price-fixing hovering under the ostensibly competitive veneer of Wall Street culture.

The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia

Why? Because Libor already affects the prices of interest-rate swaps, making this a manipulation-on-manipulation situation. If the allegations prove to be right, that will mean that swap customers have been paying for two different layers of price-fixing corruption. If you can imagine paying 20 bucks for a crappy PB&J because some evil cabal of agribusiness companies colluded to fix the prices of both peanuts and peanut butter, you come close to grasping the lunacy of financial markets where both interest rates and interest-rate swaps are being manipulated at the same time, often by the same banks.

“It’s a double conspiracy,” says an amazed Michael Greenberger, a former director of the trading and markets division at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and now a professor at the University of Maryland. “It’s the height of criminality.”

The bad news didn’t stop with swaps and interest rates. In March, it also came out that two regulators – the CFTC here in the U.S. and the Madrid-based International Organization of Securities Commissions – were spurred by the Libor revelations to investigate the possibility of collusive manipulation of gold and silver prices. “Given the clubby manipulation efforts we saw in Libor benchmarks, I assume other benchmarks – many other benchmarks – are legit areas of inquiry,” CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton said.

But the biggest shock came out of a federal courtroom at the end of March – though if you follow these matters closely, it may not have been so shocking at all – when a landmark class-action civil lawsuit against the banks for Libor-related offenses was dismissed. In that case, a federal judge accepted the banker-defendants’ incredible argument: If cities and towns and other investors lost money because of Libor manipulation, that was their own fault for ever thinking the banks were competing in the first place.

“A farce,” was one antitrust lawyer’s response to the eyebrow-raising dismissal.

“Incredible,” says Sylvia Sokol, an attorney for Constantine Cannon, a firm that specializes in antitrust cases.

All of these stories collectively pointed to the same thing: These banks, which already possess enormous power just by virtue of their financial holdings – in the United States, the top six banks, many of them the same names you see on the Libor and ISDAfix panels, own assets equivalent to 60 percent of the nation’s GDP – are beginning to realize the awesome possibilities for increased profit and political might that would come with colluding instead of competing. Moreover, it’s increasingly clear that both the criminal justice system and the civil courts may be impotent to stop them, even when they do get caught working together to game the system.

If true, that would leave us living in an era of undisguised, real-world conspiracy, in which the prices of currencies, commodities like gold and silver, even interest rates and the value of money itself, can be and may already have been dictated from above. And those who are doing it can get away with it. Forget the Illuminati – this is the real thing, and it’s no secret. You can stare right at it, anytime you want.

The banks found a loophole, a basic flaw in the machine. Across the financial system, there are places where prices or official indices are set based upon unverified data sent in by private banks and financial companies. In other words, we gave the players with incentives to game the system institutional roles in the economic infrastructure.

Libor, which measures the prices banks charge one another to borrow money, is a perfect example, not only of this basic flaw in the price-setting system but of the weakness in the regulatory framework supposedly policing it. Couple a voluntary reporting scheme with too-big-to-fail status and a revolving-door legal system, and what you get is unstoppable corruption.

Every morning, 18 of the world’s biggest banks submit data to an office in London about how much they believe they would have to pay to borrow from other banks. The 18 banks together are called the “Libor panel,” and when all of these data from all 18 panelist banks are collected, the numbers are averaged out. What emerges, every morning at 11:30 London time, are the daily Libor figures.

Banks submit numbers about borrowing in 10 different currencies across 15 different time periods, e.g., loans as short as one day and as long as one year. This mountain of bank-submitted data is used every day to create benchmark rates that affect the prices of everything from credit cards to mortgages to currencies to commercial loans (both short- and long-term) to swaps.

Gangster Bankers Broke Every Law in the Book

Dating back perhaps as far as the early Nineties, traders and others inside these banks were sometimes calling up the company geeks responsible for submitting the daily Libor numbers (the “Libor submitters”) and asking them to fudge the numbers. Usually, the gimmick was the trader had made a bet on something – a swap, currencies, something – and he wanted the Libor submitter to make the numbers look lower (or, occasionally, higher) to help his bet pay off.

Famously, one Barclays trader monkeyed with Libor submissions in exchange for a bottle of Bollinger champagne, but in some cases, it was even lamer than that. This is from an exchange between a trader and a Libor submitter at the Royal Bank of Scotland:

SWISS FRANC TRADER: can u put 6m swiss libor in low pls?…

PRIMARY SUBMITTER: Whats it worth

SWSISS FRANC TRADER: ive got some sushi rolls from yesterday?…

PRIMARY SUBMITTER: ok low 6m, just for u

SWISS FRANC TRADER: wooooooohooooooo. . . thatd be awesome

Screwing around with world interest rates that affect billions of people in exchange for day-old sushi – it’s hard to imagine an image that better captures the moral insanity of the modern financial-services sector.

Hundreds of similar exchanges were uncovered when regulators like Britain’s Financial Services Authority and the U.S. Justice Department started burrowing into the befouled entrails of Libor. The documentary evidence of anti-competitive manipulation they found was so overwhelming that, to read it, one almost becomes embarrassed for the banks. “It’s just amazing how Libor fixing can make you that much money,” chirped one yen trader. “Pure manipulation going on,” wrote another.

Yet despite so many instances of at least attempted manipulation, the banks mostly skated. Barclays got off with a relatively minor fine in the $450 million range, UBS was stuck with $1.5 billion in penalties, and RBS was forced to give up $615 million. Apart from a few low-level flunkies overseas, no individual involved in this scam that impacted nearly everyone in the industrialized world was even threatened with criminal prosecution.

Two of America’s top law-enforcement officials, Attorney General Eric Holder and former Justice Department Criminal Division chief Lanny Breuer, confessed that it’s dangerous to prosecute offending banks because they are simply too big. Making arrests, they say, might lead to “collateral consequences” in the economy.

The relatively small sums of money extracted in these settlements did not go toward reparations for the cities, towns and other victims who lost money due to Libor manipulation. Instead, it flowed mindlessly into government coffers. So it was left to towns and cities like Baltimore (which lost money due to fluctuations in their municipal investments caused by Libor movements), pensions like the New Britain, Connecticut, Firefighters’ and Police Benefit Fund, and other foundations – and even individuals (billionaire real-estate developer Sheldon Solow, who filed his own suit in February, claims that his company lost $450 million because of Libor manipulation) – to sue the banks for damages.

One of the biggest Libor suits was proceeding on schedule when, early in March, an army of superstar lawyers working on behalf of the banks descended upon federal judge Naomi Buchwald in the Southern District of New York to argue an extraordinary motion to dismiss. The banks’ legal dream team drew from heavyweight Beltway-connected firms like Boies Schiller (you remember David Boies represented Al Gore), Davis Polk (home of top ex-regulators like former SEC enforcement chief Linda Thomsen) and Covington & Burling, the onetime private-practice home of both Holder and Breuer.

The presence of Covington & Burling in the suit – representing, of all companies, Citigroup, the former employer of current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew – was particularly galling. Right as the Libor case was being dismissed, the firm had hired none other than Lanny Breuer, the same Lanny Breuer who, just a few months before, was the assistant attorney general who had balked at criminally prosecuting UBS over Libor because, he said, “Our goal here is not to destroy a major financial institution.”

In any case, this all-star squad of white-shoe lawyers came before Buchwald and made the mother of all audacious arguments. Robert Wise of Davis Polk, representing Bank of America, told Buchwald that the banks could not possibly be guilty of anti- competitive collusion because nobody ever said that the creation of Libor was competitive. “It is essential to our argument that this is not a competitive process,” he said. “The banks do not compete with one another in the submission of Libor.”

If you squint incredibly hard and look at the issue through a mirror, maybe while standing on your head, you can sort of see what Wise is saying. In a very theoretical, technical sense, the actual process by which banks submit Libor data – 18 geeks sending numbers to the British Bankers’ Association offices in London once every morning – is not competitive per se.

But these numbers are supposed to reflect interbank-loan prices derived in a real, competitive market. Saying the Libor submission process is not competitive is sort of like pointing out that bank robbers obeyed the speed limit on the way to the heist. It’s the silliest kind of legal sophistry.

But Wise eventually outdid even that argument, essentially saying that while the banks may have lied to or cheated their customers, they weren’t guilty of the particular crime of antitrust collusion. This is like the old joke about the lawyer who gets up in court and claims his client had to be innocent, because his client was committing a crime in a different state at the time of the offense.

“The plaintiffs, I believe, are confusing a claim of being perhaps deceived,” he said, “with a claim for harm to competition.”

Judge Buchwald swallowed this lunatic argument whole and dismissed most of the case. Libor, she said, was a “cooperative endeavor” that was “never intended to be competitive.” Her decision “does not reflect the reality of this business, where all of these banks were acting as competitors throughout the process,” said the antitrust lawyer Sokol. Buchwald made this ruling despite the fact that both the U.S. and British governments had already settled with three banks for billions of dollars for improper manipulation, manipulation that these companies admitted to in their settlements.

Michael Hausfeld of Hausfeld LLP, one of the lead lawyers for the plaintiffs in this Libor suit, declined to comment specifically on the dismissal. But he did talk about the significance of the Libor case and other manipulation cases now in the pipeline.

“It’s now evident that there is a ubiquitous culture among the banks to collude and cheat their customers as many times as they can in as many forms as they can conceive,” he said. “And that’s not just surmising. This is just based upon what they’ve been caught at.”

Greenberger says the lack of serious consequences for the Libor scandal has only made other kinds of manipulation more inevitable. “There’s no therapy like sending those who are used to wearing Gucci shoes to jail,” he says. “But when the attorney general says, ‘I don’t want to indict people,’ it’s the Wild West. There’s no law.”

The problem is, a number of markets feature the same infrastructural weakness that failed in the Libor mess. In the case of interest-rate swaps and the ISDAfix benchmark, the system is very similar to Libor, although the investigation into these markets reportedly focuses on some different types of improprieties.

Though interest-rate swaps are not widely understood outside the finance world, the root concept actually isn’t that hard. If you can imagine taking out a variable-rate mortgage and then paying a bank to make your loan payments fixed, you’ve got the basic idea of an interest-rate swap.

In practice, it might be a country like Greece or a regional government like Jefferson County, Alabama, that borrows money at a variable rate of interest, then later goes to a bank to “swap” that loan to a more predictable fixed rate. In its simplest form, the customer in a swap deal is usually paying a premium for the safety and security of fixed interest rates, while the firm selling the swap is usually betting that it knows more about future movements in interest rates than its customers.

Prices for interest-rate swaps are often based on ISDAfix, which, like Libor, is yet another of these privately calculated benchmarks. ISDAfix’s U.S. dollar rates are published every day, at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., after a gang of the same usual-suspect megabanks (Bank of America, RBS, Deutsche, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, etc.) submits information about bids and offers for swaps.

And here’s what we know so far: The CFTC has sent subpoenas to ICAP and to as many as 15 of those member banks, and plans to interview about a dozen ICAP employees from the company’s office in Jersey City, New Jersey. Moreover, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, or ISDA, which works together with ICAP (for U.S. dollar transactions) and Thomson Reuters to compute the ISDAfix benchmark, has hired the consulting firm Oliver Wyman to review the process by which ISDAfix is calculated. Oliver Wyman is the same company that the British Bankers’ Association hired to review the Libor submission process after that scandal broke last year. The upshot of all of this is that it looks very much like ISDAfix could be Libor all over again.

“It’s obviously reminiscent of the Libor manipulation issue,” Darrell Duffie, a finance professor at Stanford University, told reporters. “People may have been naive that simply reporting these rates was enough to avoid manipulation.”

And just like in Libor, the potential losers in an interest-rate-swap manipulation scandal would be the same sad-sack collection of cities, towns, companies and other nonbank entities that have no way of knowing if they’re paying the real price for swaps or a price being manipulated by bank insiders for profit. Moreover, ISDAfix is not only used to calculate prices for interest-rate swaps, it’s also used to set values for about $550 billion worth of bonds tied to commercial real estate, and also affects the payouts on some state-pension annuities.

So although it’s not quite as widespread as Libor, ISDAfix is sufficiently power-jammed into the world financial infrastructure that any manipulation of the rate would be catastrophic – and a huge class of victims that could include everyone from state pensioners to big cities to wealthy investors in structured notes would have no idea they were being robbed.

“How is some municipality in Cleveland or wherever going to know if it’s getting ripped off?” asks Michael Masters of Masters Capital Management, a fund manager who has long been an advocate of greater transparency in the derivatives world. “The answer is, they won’t know.”

Worse still, the CFTC investigation apparently isn’t limited to possible manipulation of swap prices by monkeying around with ISDAfix. According to reports, the commission is also looking at whether or not employees at ICAP may have intentionally delayed publication of swap prices, which in theory could give someone (bankers, cough, cough) a chance to trade ahead of the information.

Swap prices are published when ICAP employees manually enter the data on a computer screen called “19901.” Some 6,000 customers subscribe to a service that allows them to access the data appearing on the 19901 screen.

The key here is that unlike a more transparent, regulated market like the New York Stock Exchange, where the results of stock trades are computed more or less instantly and everyone in theory can immediately see the impact of trading on the prices of stocks, in the swap market the whole world is dependent upon a handful of brokers quickly and honestly entering data about trades by hand into a computer terminal.

Any delay in entering price data would provide the banks involved in the transactions with a rare opportunity to trade ahead of the information. One way to imagine it would be to picture a racetrack where a giant curtain is pulled over the track as the horses come down the stretch – and the gallery is only told two minutes later which horse actually won. Anyone on the right side of the curtain could make a lot of smart bets before the audience saw the results of the race.

At ICAP, the interest-rate swap desk, and the 19901 screen, were reportedly controlled by a small group of 20 or so brokers, some of whom were making millions of dollars. These brokers made so much money for themselves the unit was nicknamed “Treasure Island.”

Already, there are some reports that brokers of Treasure Island did create such intentional delays. Bloomberg interviewed a former broker who claims that he watched ICAP brokers delay the reporting of swap prices. “That allows dealers to tell the brokers to delay putting trades into the system instead of in real time,” Bloomberg wrote, noting the former broker had “witnessed such activity firsthand.” An ICAP spokesman has no comment on the story, though the company has released a statement saying that it is “cooperating” with the CFTC’s inquiry and that it “maintains policies that prohibit” the improper behavior alleged in news reports.

The idea that prices in a $379 trillion market could be dependent on a desk of about 20 guys in New Jersey should tell you a lot about the absurdity of our financial infrastructure. The whole thing, in fact, has a darkly comic element to it. “It’s almost hilarious in the irony,” says David Frenk, director of research for Better Markets, a financial-reform advocacy group, “that they called it ISDAfix.”

After scandals involving libor and, perhaps, ISDAfix, the question that should have everyone freaked out is this: What other markets out there carry the same potential for manipulation? The answer to that question is far from reassuring, because the potential is almost everywhere. From gold to gas to swaps to interest rates, prices all over the world are dependent upon little private cabals of cigar-chomping insiders we’re forced to trust.

“In all the over-the-counter markets, you don’t really have pricing except by a bunch of guys getting together,” Masters notes glumly.

That includes the markets for gold (where prices are set by five banks in a Libor-ish teleconferencing process that, ironically, was created in part by N M Rothschild & Sons) and silver (whose price is set by just three banks), as well as benchmark rates in numerous other commodities – jet fuel, diesel, electric power, coal, you name it. The problem in each of these markets is the same: We all have to rely upon the honesty of companies like Barclays (already caught and fined $453 million for rigging Libor) or JPMorgan Chase (paid a $228 million settlement for rigging municipal-bond auctions) or UBS (fined a collective $1.66 billion for both muni-bond rigging and Libor manipulation) to faithfully report the real prices of things like interest rates, swaps, currencies and commodities.

All of these benchmarks based on voluntary reporting are now being looked at by regulators around the world, and God knows what they’ll find. The European Federation of Financial Services Users wrote in an official EU survey last summer that all of these systems are ripe targets for manipulation. “In general,” it wrote, “those markets which are based on non-attested, voluntary submission of data from agents whose benefits depend on such benchmarks are especially vulnerable of market abuse and distortion.”

Translation: When prices are set by companies that can profit by manipulating them, we’re fucked.

“You name it,” says Frenk. “Any of these benchmarks is a possibility for corruption.”

The only reason this problem has not received the attention it deserves is because the scale of it is so enormous that ordinary people simply cannot see it. It’s not just stealing by reaching a hand into your pocket and taking out money, but stealing in which banks can hit a few keystrokes and magically make whatever’s in your pocket worth less. This is corruption at the molecular level of the economy, Space Age stealing – and it’s only just coming into view.

This story is from the May 9th, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone.

via The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever | Politics News | Rolling Stone.

via The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever | Politics News | Rolling Stone.

Why I let Wall Street walk


Justice Department prosecutor Lanny Breuer gives an unapologetic exit interview to Dealbook

Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Justice Department‘s Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer (Credit: Reuters/Joshua Lott)

I’ve never seen as relatively unheralded an official as the head of the criminal division at the Justice Department get so many exit interviews in national newspapers.  But Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, who’s retiring to spend more time with his family at white-shoe law firms on Wall Street, has been given multiple chances to make a last impression.  When you spend nearly four years and fail to prosecute anyone of significance for the financial crisis that caused millions of foreclosures, layoffs and a giant hole in the economy that has still not been papered over, I guess you need your pals in the establishment to help you plead your case.

This interview with the New York Times’ Dealbook (sponsored today by the financial firm Allianz) is no different. As a prelude, he gets a commendation from former Attorney General and current corporate lawyer Michael Mukasey (always good to have the lawyer from the other side of the table, defending those you could have but chose not to prosecute, praising your work). He gets phantom criticism from unnamed members of “the Occupy Wall Street crowd” and “Rolling Stone magazine,” a reference to Matt Taibbi. There’s no easier way to marginalize critics than to refuse to name them.

Breuer talks about his hardscrabble upbringing and his selfless decision to enter public service as a junior district attorney in Manhattan (we know it was selfless because he told us about it himself). In the same interview, he proudly says how constantly walking through the revolving door from government law enforcement to corporate firms makes him a “better private lawyer,” and how he’s going to look at all kinds of offers rather than just settling for Covington & Burling, the corporate firm where he (and Attorney General Eric Holder) last worked.  The humble-bragging here is a bit unsightly.

But the big question on everyone’s minds is, why hasn’t Wall Street paid a price for its conduct that exploded the economy. And here’s his non-answer.

I can tell you that I assigned the top, most talented attorneys to investigate them, and I know that U.S. Attorneys’ offices across the country assigned aggressive prosecutors to these cases as well.  I assigned people from my fraud section and my own front office to look at them.  And I approached these cases exactly the same way I approached BP, the same way I approached Libor, the same way I approach every case. If there had been a case to make, we would have brought it. I would have wanted nothing more, but it doesn’t work that way.

Well, that answers that. He assigned people. Never mind the fact that the central complaint of both the financial fraud enforcement unit and the year-old securitization task force announced by the president has been that they lacked resources. Former Sen. Ted Kaufman and his chief of staff Jeff Connaughton consistently complained of no legitimate investigations at the financial fraud unit. And for months upon months, the securitization task force, the one co-chaired by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, had no staff, no phones and no offices. The lack of assignments, as it were, was a central problem.  Despite years of working on a settlement for the biggest banks on their illegal foreclosure processing, the only actual investigation into that conduct at the federal level came from the inspector general from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Dealbook, meanwhile, strains to help Breuer out. They ask why he would “open yourself to such scrutiny” on “60 Minutes” and “Frontline,” as if it’s an affront to question the man in charge of criminal prosecutions about the lack of criminal prosecutions. And they highlight Breuer’s “biggest victory”: a guilty plea from a Japanese subsidiary of UBS on manipulating a benchmark interest rate known as Libor.  “It was the first unit of a global bank to plead guilty in two decades,” Dealbook gushes.

Please. The previously-not-mentioned Matt Taibbi has taken on how pathetic this is. The parent company UBS got a non-prosecution settlement, and the Japanese subsidiary was told beforehand it would not lose any licenses to continue banking in Japan. That this is seen as a new get-tough policy (instead of actually prosecuting the individuals at the companies responsible for fraud), as a legitimate deterrent to future crimes rather than a symbolic speck of dust, tells you plenty about the corruption inside Main Justice, and apparently at Dealbook as well.

But I guess that as the Justice Department loses a criminal division chief, Dealbook gains a new source at a corporate law firm, willing to dish about which Wall Street figure will go free this time. All’s well that ends well.

David Dayen is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on

via Why I let Wall Street walk – Salon.com.

via Why I let Wall Street walk – Salon.com.

Can you Trust big business? January review 2013


Here is a list of of the items I noted in the month of Jan 2013.

Ask yourself how ethical or trustworthy is business today.

(1)The Irish Times – Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Steel plant pollution and bribery scandal engulfs Italians

The basic accusation levelled at the Riva family is that, over a 17-year period, pollution from its Taranto plant has poisoned not only Ilva workers and local people but also the entire eco-system of the surrounding region. The company is also accused of bribing local officials

=========================================================

(2)

Guardian.co.uk, Sunday 6 January 2013 14.09 GMT

France shaken by fresh scandal over weight-loss drug linked to deaths

Drug company boss faces manslaughter investigation as victims complain of delays in compensation

===========================================================

(3)

Telegraph  Mon 7th Jan

Rolls in China bribery allegations

Aerospace engine maker Rolls Royce is facing allegations it bribed a Chinese airline executive to secure deals worth a total of $2bn (£1.24bn), according to reports.

==============================================================================

(4)

Telegraph 7th jan
Rothschild demands action from Bumi director
Financier Nat Rothschild has told Bumi’s senior independent director Sir Julian Horn-Smith he must take action over the alleged financial misdemeanours at the coal miner or consider quitting the board.

=============================================================================

(5) Telegraph 9th Jan

UBS fires eighteen over Libor-rigging scandal
Just eighteen UBS staff were sacked over the Libor-rigging scandal that saw the bank hand over $1.5bn (£940m) to regulators, the second-largest fine ever paid by a bank.

===============================================================================

(6) Telegraph 9th of Jan

Foxconn reviews China deals as it probes bribe claims
Apple’s technology provider Foxconn has revealed it could pull acquisitions in China over allegations its managers in the country solicited bribes from local suppliers.

As well as suffering from a string of suicides Foxconn was also exposed last year as employing children as young as 14 on its assembly lines.

(7)

Wednesday 09 January 2013 Daily Telegraph

Former HBOS managers charged in £35m fraud investigation

Two former senior managers at HBOS were among eight people charged on Tuesday night in connection with an alleged £35m fraud.

————-=====================================================================

(8) The Telegraph 9th Jan

US Interior Department launches probe into Shell’s Arctic oil drilling
The US Interior Department has launched a “high-level” review of Shell’s mishap-hit 2012 Arctic drilling campaign, throwing the company’s plans to explore for oil in the region further into doubt.

(9)

Daily Mail-20 th Jan
Exposed: The regime of fear inside Barclay s – and how the boss lied and shredded the evidence
British executive at £184bn broking arm hid damning report on bullying
Intimidated staff forced to flout rules in pursuit of ‘revenue at all costs’
Huge blow to Barclay’s reputation as new CEO struggles to relaunch bank

==========================================================================

(10) The Independent 

WEDNESDAY 30 JANUARY 2013
Swiss food giant Nestlé fined for infiltrating activist group

The Swiss food giant Nestlé was ordered to pay SFr 27,000 (£18,700) compensation after being found liable in a civil case over the secret infiltration of an activist group that had campaigned against it.

A court ruled last week in favour of anti-globalisation group Attac, following revelations that Nestlé had hired the Swiss security company Securitas AG to infiltrate its meetings.
A spokesman for Nestlé noted the judge’s decision “with disappointment” and reiterated “that incitement to infiltration is against Nestlé’s corporate business principles”.

===============================================================================

Tomorrow: Can you Trust big business?  Walmart And Company Bribing Their Way Through Latin America –

UBS: A billion-quid fraud, and nobody went to jail


Why is there a 99.9% correlation between influence and freedom?

UBS today settled its global libor fraud case by paying fines of just under £1 billion – over twice the fine dumped on Barclays.

No senior manager at UBS will be losing their jobs, or resigning. And naturally, none of them will be going to jail.

UBS has paid the UK’s Financial Services Authority alone £160m, the largest fine ever levied by the regulator. The FSA mentions ‘ a litany of abuse and fraud perpetrated by a significant number of employees over a number of years from January 1 2005 to 31 December 2010.’ UBS ‘routinely manipulated Libor and Euribor to benefit trading positions and gave the job of determining its Libor submissions to traders themselves in a deliberate conflict of interest’. The bank colluded with inter-dealer brokers and individuals at other banks.

Two senior Tory donors, Michael Spencer and Michael Fallon, were employed at the most senior level in the biggest libor broker in the EU. Neither is even under suspicion. Neither has been cautioned. Nobody anywhere to date in all the banks and brokers involved in this, the greatest rate-rigging scandal in financial history, has gone beyond the most superficial police questionning.

But David Cameron thinks that the police fiddling the evidence against Andrew Mitchell is “shocking and very serious”. He thinks the Met have “serious questions to answer”. About one arrogant pol who might or might not have called a bobby “a f**king pleb” outside the gates of Downing Street.

So then, todays count on the rule of law and equality before it in the EU outpost previously known as Britain looks like this:

To one riot involving several thousand lazy, poor, desperate or dishonest looting people…..that adversely affected some 740 businesses: 3000 jail sentences within a month.

To one global fix involving practically every major bank and broker on the planet…..that adversely affected the savings, earnings and jobs of over 240 million people: 0 jail sentences after seven years.

You don’t have to be left wing to object to this, you just need an ounce of decency, and a gram of comprehension about why a society without law will become an oligarchic dictatorship within a decade.

Where are the Tory voices of dissent? Where are the LibDems outside the Coalition when this kind of legal obscenity is allowed to happen and go unremarked?

But above all, where is the Labour Party? To which the answer is, “Hiding under the stairs, hoping that nobody notices the light under the door…because they’re all scared of the dark”. They know perfectly well that Blair, Brown and Darling were up to the worthless necks in this smelly mire too.

Why should I or anyone else take any of them seriously? And by way of a postscript, why should any EU citizen take seriously a Union meant to be serving its citizens allowing tons of unjust, inhuman crap to go down? Over now to another outpost of the Eumpire, to that once happy land of Retsina and Metaxas formerly known as Greece:

Two recent opinion polls in Greece from established pollsters MRB and Public Issue show that disappointment (65.6%), rage (64.1%), fear (48.1%) and shame (38.4%) are by far the four prominent sentiments in Greek society at the moment. Two in three Greeks feel rage about what’s been inflicted upon them.

When questioned about how they see the economic situation in the country over the next 12 months, 86.4% think it’s going to get worse, with 58.8% significantly worse. With regard to their personal financial situation, 81.2% expect it to get worse, 54.2% significantly worse. So clearly, all those Belgian pen-pushers and economics ministers are the only ones, looking in from the outside, who know how truly wrong 9 out of 10 Greeks are.

This is a society that next year will see 4.9 billion euros taken away from pensions and social benefits, 1.2 billion euros from public sector wages and 465 million from healthcare. A total of 9.4 billion euros of spending cuts is expected in 2013.

Unemployment already reached 26% in September and unless something changes dramatically in the new year, it will be edging towards 30% before long. The research institute of Greece’s largest union, GSEE, is estimating a figure of 35% in unofficial numbers. Approximately 771,000 of those are unemployed for over a year with no unemployment benefits and medical coverage.

What we are looking at here is three quarters of a million first-world europeans facing unemployment with no welfare net at all.

These folks aren’t going to eat cake. They’re going to eat the brutal lunatics who put them in that place….the same ones who manage time after time to keep the guilty out of jail.

It will happen in Greece before too long. But unless Camerlot pays heed, it will happen here too.

via UBS: A billion-quid fraud, and nobody went to jail | A diary of deception and distortion.

via UBS: A billion-quid fraud, and nobody went to jail | A diary of deception and distortion.

Misebogland


The secret is out

Can you trust International Banking?

Judge for yourself

Just a quick look at recent developments

7/8

Standard Chartered accused of exposing the US to terrorists, drug dealers, and weapon dealers by hiding $250 billion of transactions with the Iranian government.

31/7

Deutsche Bank admits Libor involvement.

Germany’s biggest bank faces regulatory action after admitting complicity in rate-fixing scandal along with Barclays.

17/7

HSBC ‘allowed drug cartels to launder money’

Early July –details of Barclay’s bank/ *Libor’s scandal started to emerge (rate fixing)

The governing bank of England was also aware of this illegal manipulation.

In Canada –  participants in the Libor scandel include the Canadian branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Bank, and Citibank, as well as ICAP (Intercapital), an interdealer broker.

USA- In the USA regulators were focusing on Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and UBS AG in their probe of Libor’s rate manipulation.

Goldman Sachs has not yet faced the music for cooking the books of Greece.

This manipulation allowed the Greeks to falsely comply with the requirements for Euro zone admission.

Will they ever be sanctioned and if not why?

What you will understand from the above is all the major banks are involved in illegal rate fixing.

Rate fixing means, you Johnny Citizen gets cheated out of money and the bankers get fat bonus payments

* the London inter-bank offered rate

The Fraudulent Traveller

Healy Eames

This rather silly senator appears to be hell-bent on setting a senate record for difficulties with the law. Let us have a look at her track- record.   She took her plumber take her to court rather than pay him what he was owed. Had planning permission for a two-story garage refused? She went ahead and built it regardless of the law. Officials recommended demolition of the building due to blatant flaunting of the planning process. However, a “higher” up “official” granted her retention. I wonder if this could be maybe a close by senior say like in Mayo. In early July, this woman received a fine for not having road tax on her Merc c180. She stated that this was an oversight on her part. In Late July fined €100 for not having a train ticket.   The very same senator receives €2,424 a month in travel and accommodation expenses. One might say a nice little earner when you do not pay your road tax or train fares. Jesus’ lads but you cannot beat the old gravy train. Some neck on this woman but then again, rules and regulations only apply to the serfs. It might be interesting to check out her overnight accommodation expenses to see how they stack up. Between oversights, lack of foresight and poor visual vision one wonders how this woman can even find her way to the senate let alone claim expenses.

To compound all this nonsense Fine Gael issued this gobbledygook as a damage limitation exercise.

Senator Healy Eames boarded the 6.50am train to Dublin in a rush, at Athenry station yesterday morning (Thursday). She did so on the understanding that she would be able to purchase a ticket on board, as she had previously done on recent occasions. An officer approached her from the revenue protection unit on board who asked her for ID. She produced her Seanad ID card. She offered to buy a ticket as normal. He told her she could not buy a ticket from him and fined her €100.

It appears the true heirs to the Feeling small party are well and truly on board the gravy train.

Skippy Quinn

Daddy says Skippy won’t be going back” to face the prospect of jail in the Republic. Daddy says he has no chance of getting “fair play or justice” because of the corrupt way the authorities have handled the Quinn case. Daddy says Young Skippy is under a lot of pressure, and he deserves our sympathy. If daddy Quinn has evidence of “the corrupt way the authorities handled the case,” then perhaps he might share the information with the Gardai. Let us all remind Daddy Quinn that the entire nation witnessed dear little Skippy on video lying through his teeth. Let’s jog the memory of the old Quinn a little further and say “Sir” you son was given every chance to comply with the law but failed to do so. He skipped court and did a runner. The sheer arrogance and smug self-righteousness by the Quinn family of their wrongdoing defies belief. Hopefully at the end of the day they will all end in Jail. —————————————————————————————————————————-

Are you Ready to be a Bonded Serf?

What the major political parties will not tell you is there is no way forward from the current economic crisis except a doomsday scenario. Are they preparing for it? Yes is the answer. The current system is to be replaced by the new political credo of “Economic serfdom” which means welcome to P.I.G.S. party feudalism. The middle classes and working classes will shortly cease to exist. What this means is that 95% of the population will become bonded serfs to the privileged. Future generations will be born into economic slavery to serve the Elites. They will be controlled by the enforcers of the vested interests until released by death from exhaustion having procreated to keep the supply system going. The Royalty of Banks, the Royalty of Global Business, and the Royalty of Unelected Leaders are now your governors such is your destiny.

—————————————————————————————————————————-

The billion barrel oil find off the Cork coast

Hurray, hurrah we are rich once again. Twenty-five per cent of the corporate profit is our cut, however; there are two points to note. They can write off exploration costs against tax. The twenty-five per cent can increase to forty depending on the profitability of the field. This is a red herring, as the number crunchers will ensure this never happens. I guaranteed we will get **** yet once again. It looks like we are destined to remain Kings of the Sardine industry. Now that chap Chavez begins to look rather interesting. Just how did he do it, perhaps time for a government junket to Venezuela?

————————————————————————————–

Mario Draghi President of the European Central Bank

Mario Draghi the man who pulls the fiscal strings in Europe. Does he represent the people of Europe? Not on your life, he has one interest and that is to take care of his friends in Banking. Consider the following.

1. Unelected

2. Worked for Goldman Sucks

3. Former Governor of the Bank of Italy

4. Worked for Italian Treasury

5. Worked for the Bank of International Settlements

6. Worked for the World Bank

Does this look like the CV of a trustworthy man? Be assured he will not work in your interest but he knows how to stir it up. Yes the very same man who insisted we pay penal interest rates for the bailout.

—————————————————————–

€6000.00 per head per month to the Quinn family

children while people on the Dole starve

The High Court has approved the payment of monthly living expenses €30,000 to the five adult children of bankrupt executive Sean Quinn and three spouses. Well now, you know if your low income nobody gives a toss about you. No social welfare means test for the boys as you can see the elite look after the elk.

———————————————————————————————————————————————— Peter Darragh Quinn

WANTED Peter Darragh Quinn If you know the whereabouts of this man please inform the Gardai. Do not approach this man as he is carrying a large amount of lethal coinage

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

Sean Quinn: Well-known figures who rallied to support

bankrupt tycoon run for cover

PROMINENT figures from GAA and television yesterday ducked for cover when asked to comment on their involvement in a rally supporting fallen tycoon Sean Quinn.

They included Tyrone manager Mickey Harte, left, and former Meath star Colm O’Rourke, right, in the middle is that insufferable clown  father Brian D’arsey. These three were among those who marched in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan in support of the Quinn’s. One wonders if the these three attention seekers ever gave a thought to the poor tax payer

Tyrone manager<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Mickey Harte, left, and<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> former Meath star Colm<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> O'Rourke, right, with Fr<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Brian D'Arcy ? were<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> among those who<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> marched in Ballyconnell,<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Co Cavan

———————————————————————————————————————————

Former Bank Chairman arrested on Fraud Charges

Sean Fitzpatrick made “no comment” when he was charged with 16 counts contrary to Section 60 of the Companies Act. The charges allege that before it became nationalized, he permitted the bank to “give unlawful financial assistance” to 16 named individuals for the purpose of or in connection with a purchase by the same people of shares in the then Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Plc. It is claimed the alleged unlawful financial help to buy shares was given between July 10 and July 17, 2008 to 15 people. These include the so-called “Maple Ten” group of Irish Investors and several members of Sean Quinn’s family – and from July 17 until July 30, of the same year, to Patricia Quinn, the wife of now bankrupt quarry tycoon Sean. Among the names on the charges is Sean Quinn Junior, jailed last week by the High Court for contempt of court for hiding €500m of property assets from Anglo, now called the IBRC. Also included in the names of people who allegedly got financial assistance to buy shares in the bank are: Colette Marie Quinn, Aoife Quinn, Ciara Quinn, Brenda Quinn, property developer Patrick McKillen, Seamus Ross, Brian O’Farrell, John McCabe, Gerard Maguire, Patrick Kearney, Gerard Gannon, Gerard Conlon, Sean Reilly and Joseph O’Reilly.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

Still At Large

This man led us down the swanee and is still at large. If you were involved in handing this man money the Garda Siochana would like to hear from you

———————————————————————-

 Editorial comment

The Bankers Story

The capital of Rotten Island Bud Nil was an ancient and revered city. However, in keeping with the wealth and affluence of the times the city councillors renamed the city “Wonderland.” Somewhere between Never Neverland (North side”) and the inner sanctum of Wonderland there is a sector called” Forever Wonderland’.” This neighbourhood is the financial heart of the nation. In this district, lived a wealthy young banker. His notable attributes were a craving for attention, a bad memory, and a chequered career. He treasured the radiance of other inducements and was a frequent visitor to Feckerland the area of dance, revelry, alcohol, and Chateaubriand. Parochially, friends and acquaintances, knew him as “Disney” Fitzfiddle. Men did travel across the length and breadth of the land to win the friendship of “Disney.” He loved a good story from waiting recipients of fiscal credits, borrowers, whose habitual wrongdoing he totally ignored. In his own words, he stated, I was big. Some came and said “Disney” can you lend me 10 million quid, and I’d say. Sure, no problem at all, we can do it without recourse to Peter and Paul for you know I am a man who can lend without rancour. Let us go for a ride in the Bentley and lunch at the “Incidentally” and later tarry awhile in Dick Gentlys (a well-known brothel). Alas, the good days, now I am but the evil pantomime villain, who only borrowed a handy hundred million. Look at who elevated me, aren’t we all cronies of the Dons of the Feeling Smallers. Why did you know? I even had the occasional game of golf, with the nation’s esteemed Boss, the great incompetent Mr. Buttocks, the pillar of lies and good-byes. Agreed, I may have moved a few loans around a bit, temporarily mislaid them, perhaps duped an auditor or two. Had an odd incriminating letter gone missing here and there?  Aha, but my God, me self and “The Little Drummer Boy” good times we had. Now they say I am bankrupt with only three million quid to live on. Understand lads; for me, the attraction was the crack of the fiscal flimflam. Never mind we can bank on ‘Sinister House’ to direct the department of “Fiscal Make Believe” to clear up this Disney quicksand No, no regrets, sure was the problem not global, in all sincerity nothing to do with me.

—————————————————————————————————————————

In the next issue of “Misebogland” the truth behind the

Bailout

==================================================================================

– Finally some information concerning Misebogland  is the leading newspaper on the Island of Rotten Island. For those of you who are unaware Rotten Island is a mirror image of the Island of Ireland that happens to exists in a parallel universe. However, as you become familiar with the Misebogland, you will note and observe that there are subtle differences due to mutations that have occurred over the course of time. For example, the Irish Language has disappeared. The current Prime Minister Dame Enda is an outrageous transsexual.

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