June 28, 2012
By ROBERT BARR
LONDON (AP) — The e-mails sound casual: Dude reaching out to dude, begging for favors and offering rewards ranging from coffee to fine champagne.
But what the bankers were allegedly doing was as serious as it gets: fixing an interest rate that affects the cost of half a quadrillion dollars — that’s $554 trillion — in financial contracts around the world, from mortgages to loans.
U.S. and British investigators say the employees of Barclays Bank — and possibly those of other major international banks — clearly knew it was wrong to manipulate the London interbank office rate, known as the LIBOR, which determines the rate at which banks lend to each other and, by extension, the rate at which they lend to consumers and businesses.
The rate is calculated daily by the British Bankers’ Association, based on lending rate figures submitted by global banks. Some of Barclays’ staff, however, allegedly succumbed to the temptation to adjust the figures in a bid to boost profits or disguise financial weaknesses.
One trader messaged a colleague about helping to influence the three-month LIBOR.
“As always, any help wd be greatly appreciated,” the trader wrote.
“I am going 90 altho 91 is what I should be posting,” came the reply.
The trader responded: “When I retire and write a book about this business your name will be written in golden letters.”
“I would prefer this not be in any book!” came the answer.
And yet it did appear — not in a book, but in court papers that led to fines totaling $453 million against the bank. U.S. and British officials are considering criminal charges against individuals and British investigators are probing other major banks including Citigroup in the United States, Switzerland’s UBS, Britain’s HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland.
Full Article Here – http://news.yahoo.com/casual-e-mails-tell-chilling-story-market-fixes-165537584–finance.html