The Untouchable, Unscrupulous ‘LIBOR Cartel’ (Der Tagesspiegel, Germany)
Despite the mind-boggling scale of corruption at the heart of global LIBOR scandal, will the perpetrators once again get away with little more the ill-repute? Der Tagesspiegel columnist Harald Schumann writes that those responsible for manipulating the LIBOR interest rate, on which upwards of $400 trillion in loans are hinged, are more than likely to escape justice again.
however logical the resignation of one of Europe’s most prolific bonus earners (annual salary in 2011: €26 million, or $32 million), it contributes little to resolving the actual problem. Because it is already clear that this bank scandal will turn out just as all previous such events have: not a single executive will have to answer in person to a criminal court. And this – despite the fact that this scandalous practice reaches well beyond Barclays. Authorities worldwide are investigating 30 more banks, which, like a Mafia-cartel, organized interest rate manipulation across borders. Nevertheless, it is more than likely that executives at the helm of this LIBOR-gang have little to fear but the loss of their reputations.
That is what happened when Richard Fuld triggered the biggest economic disaster since World War II with the bankruptcy of his financial house Lehman Brothers. And so it was when the U.S. Senate documented how traders from Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, under its leaders Lloyd Blankfein and Anshu Jain, not only sold billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities to customers in Germany and elsewhere, knowing in advance that they would quickly become worthless, and so bet on them lapsing. And so it was when wannabes at the helm of Germany’s Landesbanken frittered away tens of billions at the expense of the people. And so it was when Hypo Real Estate was gambled away into bankruptcy, with German taxpayers bailing it out to the tune of about €20 billion ($24.5 billion), while the top manager responsible, Georg Funke, complained from his retirement home in Mallorca about being unfairly treated.
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