- Written by Herman Tiu Laurel
- Monday, 16 July 2012
On June 27, the international finance media reported that Barclays Bank had been find by £290 million or $451 million for manipulating Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate) between 2005 and 2009. It had been lying and falsifying its submissions (misreporting, some describe) to the Libor setting mechanism on such critical matters as cost of borrowing from other banks. It did this to boost its appearances as a solid financial institution and maintain high rating and lower interest cost to itself. Libor is calculated by the BBA (British Bankers’ Association) and published by Thomson Reuters financial information group daily after 11:00 a.m. (London time), fixing rates for three currencies: the US dollar, British pound sterling and the Japanese yen.
Evidence of the rate fixing included e-mails of Barclays executives, as The Globe and Mail reports: “The scandal — complete with e-mails showing bankers boasting of manipulating interest rates and congratulating each other with offers of champagne — has triggered fierce criticism about the financial industry in general and Barclays in particular.”
Barclays has dragged in other major banks into what seems to be industry practice, lying and falsification to manipulate their interest costs. Barclays is being investigated for its manipulation from 2005 on, and this couldn’t have gone on so long without knowledge of financial authorities. The British paper Financial Spectator suggests this is so, “In the statement, the bank confirms that it had close contact with the Bank of England and other authorities regarding the liquidity crisis in October 2008 … Paul Tucker, the deputy governor of the Bank of England (BoE) …. advised that a number of senior figures within Whitehall were concerned (about) Barclays’ Libor submissions... Mr Diamond (Barclays’ head) explained this by advising Mr Tucker that he believed other banks were ‘posting rates at levels that were not representative of where they would have to undertake business’”, i.e. other banks were also falsifying to window dress their submissions. Now, the BoE and other major banks are dragged into the scandal.
The Guardian reports the Barclays’ scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. One Website reflecting my sentiment aptly called “Hang the Bankers,” reports other global banks being investigated and sued on Libor fixing: HSBC, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland, JP Morgan, Citibank, et al. Interest rate “rigging” comes in many forms, while these commercial banks do it and can be found criminal in the act, governments like the US of A. can rig it and it is accepted as law, as the almost zero percent interest rate in the US for its bankers is today. For Filipinos who labor to pay interest on everything with interest rates from the lowest of just over four percent that the BSP (Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas) is paying for example to keep local banks’ moneys from OFWs and other inflows parked with it, to the $36-billion bonds costing as much, to commercial rates of up to 10 percent or consumer finance that is much, much higher, the news of such bank manipulations of interest rates such as Barclays should cause an epiphany, and call for independence from Western banking enslavement.
The Philippines is no longer short of capital to fund its development, as a Filipino banker confirmed to me in a recent discussion. The banker, who was also a major OFW contractor, explained that the over $ 20-billion earnings of the nation annually is more than sufficient and only an OFW bank is needed to consolidate this for investment which will earn the OFWs handsomely on interest. But our national ruling elite in finance and politics refuse to acknowledge the fact that the Philippines is already financially self-sufficient and the traditional bankers with their foreign partners would lose their interest earnings from our country and politicians like Sonny Belmonte who wants Cha-cha to allow in foreign financial predators.
Our politicians are operators for these global and local shylocks. Our nations’ labors should not be stolen of its fruits by the lying boors of Libor, Eurobor (Euro Interbank Offered Rates), the US Federal Reserve or other foreign manipulated rate setting bodies.
The Philippines currency and interest rate sovereignty will only be restored with policies we had during the “Filipino First” era: currency and capital controls.
(Watch Destiny Cable GNN’s HTL edition of Talk News TV, Saturdays, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11:15 p.m., this week “New Sin Tax: Sin against Filipinos”; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com)
(May pahintulat ng muling paglimbay mula kay Ka Mentong)
Source: The Daily Tribune