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Last week, Barclays’ Bank was fined $450-million for manipulating Libor (the London Inter Banking Offered Rate). This is the rate through which banks lend. The rate is agreed upon every day by a select group of banks, and is considered a “global benchmark worth hundreds of trillions of pounds.” The slightest deviation in the rate can cost a bank billions.
The US watchdog the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) said it wasn’t just Barclays’ traders who were involved in the market manipulation but the bank’s top bosses.
‘...as a result of instructions from Barclays’ senior managemnet, the Bank routinely made artificially low LIBOR submissions to protect Barclays’ reputation from negative market and media perceptions concerning Barclays’ financial condition.’
Leaked e-mails between traders revealed the staggering level of collusion between traders and bank staff.
‘Dude. I owe you big time! Come over one day after work and I’m opening a bottle of Bollinger.’
While the bankers bashed the Bolly, the public picked up the tab.