Socialist Worker

Bankers break the law but they still walk off with millions

Issue No. 2314


Barclays boss Jerry del Missier has walked off with £8.75 million despite admitting illegally rigging Libor interest rates.

The rigging affected things like loan and mortgage payments. But del Missier thoughtfully delayed grabbing the cash because of “public anger” over the scandal. Until now.

Barclays had made much of clamping down on bonuses. Former non-executive director at Barclays, Alison Carnwath, has painted herself as a steely campaigner against excessive pay.

When she resigned last week, the media faithfully trotted out the theory that she’d been “pushed out” because of her principled position.

“I sometimes wake up worried—or don’t go to sleep at all because I’m anxious,” she whined.

The idea is ridiculous. Carnwath was the one in charge of handing out the megabucks at Barclays—for which she graciously accepted a £158,000 annual fee.

At a Barclays AGM she announced that “we got our decisions and judgements broadly right for 2011”.

Carnwath is a serial boss. She chairs property firm Land Securities. She’s a non-executive director of Man Group. And she sits on the boards of Zurich Insurance Group Ltd, Zurich Insurance Company Ltd and PACCAR Inc.

Meanwhile the scandal looks set to spread very quickly to other banks. Olympic sponsor Lloyds is fending off various Libor-related investigations.

And Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) boss Stephen Hester has warned, “RBS is one of the banks tied up in Libor”. Hilariously he has highlighted the “job insecurity” that comes with being a money-grabbing banker.

No doubt there are more resignations, and more payouts, to come. But the idea that any of them will be in protest at bonuses or excessive pay is laughable.


In a nutshell: the Libor scandal

Barclays Bank is only the tip of a rate-rigging iceberg

  • The Libor interest rate is meant to represent the cost of banks lending to each other

  • The British Bankers’ Association sets the rate based on information from banks.

  • Barclays rigged the rate to boost its traders’ profits

  • Then it reported a lower rate to try and hide financial problems

  • At least 20 banks are thought to be under investigation for rigging


A golden opportunity

What with Ed Miliband’s pandering to the rich and attacking strikers, it’s no wonder lots of people are angry with the Labour Party.

Fortunately it seems there may be a golden opportunity to protest winging our way. Labour will hold its annual conference in Manchester in the autumn. And providing security will be... G4S.


Costly competition

David Cameron claims the Olympics will be “value for money”. The government hopes that the Games and linked projects will generate £13 billion over the next ten years.

There’s no evidence for this. The Games have cost £24 billion so far—and the cost is rising.


Odious Osborne’s deeply dodgy deficit

Britain’s budget deficit is a handy excuse to explain away all kinds of cuts. But could the Tories be inflating the size of it?

A Bank of England fund has grabbed more than £20 billion in interest after buying government bonds under the quantitative easing strategy.

The Treasury could use that cash now. But then it would have to find new reasons to justify cuts.


Tough on tax

Nice to see the Tories finally getting tough on tax avoidance. The global rich have been found to be hoarding at least £13 trillion in offshore accounts.

But now the government plans to hunt them down—with school children. Children as young as 11 will be taught all about tax and national insurance.

They are then invited to say if they can think of anyone “in their local area” who hasn’t been paying their fair share.

Other modules will focus on how to punish those “who aren’t prepared to work”. It seems that the ruling elite don’t have very much to worry about.


Exclusive! Rich are happier than poor

Shockingly life on benefits is not quite as much fun as right wing rags would have us believe.

Nearly half of unemployed people interviewed for a recent Office for National Statistics survey rated their life satisfaction as low or very low. Unsurprisingly, rich people were much happier.

Meanwhile those out of work are four times more likely to be struggling with pay day loans than they were three years ago. And some 4.4 million people over 21 rely on their parents to make ends meet.

It’s great this “all in it together” lark.


In the deep midsummer

Christmas is here! At least it is if you’re in Harrods. The store has opened its Christmas department early and 151 days before Christmas—to cash in on Olympic visitors.


Know your enemy

Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, minister for HSBC

This Tory trade minister ran HSBC when it ran accounts laundering money. He had dinner with senior figures from HSBC in January this year, and failed to show up in the House of Lords to answer a question on the scandal this month.


Tories write off asbestos victims

The Tories have decided that most people with asbestos-related cancer don’t deserve any compensation. They are set to bring in a long-hyped compensation fund in 2014.

But they’ve put the concerns of insurers first. So only 50 percent of sufferers will be allowed to apply. Some 5,000 sufferers have died since the fund was first discussed some 26 months ago.


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Article information

The Troublemaker
Tue 31 Jul 2012, 16:51 BST
Issue No. 2314
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