News / Europe

    British Banking Scandal Likely to Spread

    A view of Barclays headquarters at London's Canary Wharf financial district,  July 3, 2012.A view of Barclays headquarters at London's Canary Wharf financial district, July 3, 2012.
    x
    A view of Barclays headquarters at London's Canary Wharf financial district,  July 3, 2012.
    A view of Barclays headquarters at London's Canary Wharf financial district, July 3, 2012.
    Jim Randle
    A scandal over a major British bank unfairly manipulating interest rates threatens to engulf more major banks around the world.  The case has already seen Barclays Bank pay a huge fine, sparked a flurry of investigations and hearings, and might result in changes in laws that govern financial firms.  

    Impact

    Barclays is one of 18 banks that help set a daily benchmark for many interest rates around the world by reporting what they expect to pay to borrow money.  The result is called the “LIBOR” which stands for "London Interbank Offered Rate."  

    White-collar crime expert and former Department of Justice attorney Michael Weinstein says LIBOR has a huge impact on global commerce.

    “It is fair to say it is not millions, it's not billions, it's trillions of dollars impacted by the LIBOR rate.  So the impact is not only domestic here in the United States, but globally and internationally,” Weinstein said.

    Some of the efforts to manipulate interest rates occurred during the financial crisis, when investors, depositors, other banks, and regulators were worried about the financial strength of banks.

    Barclays paid a fine of around $450 million for, among other things, lying to rate-setting officials by saying they were paying a lower interest rate than they actually were.

    Pace University expert on corporate governance, John Alan James, says Barclays misled officials because a low interest rate is a vote of confidence in a borrower by a lender.

    “They come in low and it shows that they are stronger than they really are,“ James said.

    On other occasions, Barclays’ officials falsely said the interest rate they had to pay was higher than it actually was, in an effort to make money on investments that were essentially a bet that the LIBOR would rise.

    Both actions hurt consumers.

    Manipulation

    Manipulating the LIBOR interest rate higher means people were unfairly forced to pay more on mortgages, student loans and other transactions.   And manipulating the interest rate lower unfairly cut the returns paid to people who rely on savings and investments with interest rates tied to LIBOR rates.  

    Weinstein says investigations are underway in a number of countries and the scandal could spread widely.

    “I think you are going to see almost all of the world’s major banks get hit with this to some degree.”

    He adds he expects governments and regulators to tighten rules and supervision of banks in response.

    But Hofstra University finance professor Anoop Rai says lawmakers and regulators must strike a careful balance; too little regulation allows too many dishonest practices, but too much supervision slows commerce and hurts the economy.

    “It is very difficult to get an optimal set of regulations, too much or too little, said Rai. "And over time, markets forget, and we see this recurring behavior so many times,
    one just has to scratch their head and say how do we get buyers to beware.”

    Nevertheless, Pace University's John Alan James expects that some actual, constructive change will come from this scandal because, as he puts it, “This is too big to put under the rug. “

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Raymond Murdock from: Washington DC
    July 14, 2012 11:55 AM
    For some time this part was left in free alberdio banks that handle only the economies of each country. Inadmissible. Speaking of Economy and Banks is like talking about water and oil. Do not mix. Much less let them engage in Economy. The question is why does this happen? Overconfidence. Overestimation of honesty. Drivers or inspections obsolete. Conspirators or groups to commit unlawful. Loopholes. Jurisprudence which validates fraudulent acts without exemplary punishment. Free dubious agreements and guarantees to escape or avoid justice. Too obvious and made ​​worse by lack of something elemental?.-

    by: Lorain from: USA
    July 11, 2012 2:46 PM
    Olympics in Britain... who want to go and see London...??? might as well stay in Cairo or Baghdad... UK has become Muslime
    In Response

    by: Mary from: USA
    July 11, 2012 9:33 PM
    London's a fascinating city and one of the most interesting places I've ever been; you're doing youself no favors by so blithly writing it off.
    Your demographics are seriously off, by the way. The vast majority of the British are at least nominally Christian and secular in practice. No one's installing Sharia over common law there anytime soon.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora