Dear bankers: ‘puters don’t forget.
A brief colloquy between a colleague and I on the topic of the LIBOR scandal.
The_Craw: Another interesting thing is that there are rumblings that Barclay’s rigged the LIBOR since 2001. Their plea deal was for 2005-2009. If 2001 turns out to be closer to the truth, the prior deal may be deemed null and void
Brad: Ohhhh dear.
The_Craw: “At times, Barclays traders sought to affect rates on dates when interest-rate derivatives contracts settled, thus profiting more from trades, according to documents made public by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, one of the agencies conducting the Libor probes. Here’s an e-mail about the three- month rate from a senior Barclays trader in New York to the London banker who submitted the rates: “Hi Guys, We got a big position in 3m libor for the next 3 days. Can we please keep the lib or fixing at 5.39 for the next few days. It would really help. We do not want it to fix any higher than that. Tks a lot.”
“Bankers submitting rates responded to such requests as if they were routine: “For you, anything,” and “done … for you big boy,” according to the e-mails. Not that the efforts went unappreciated: “Dude. I owe you big time!” one trader wrote to a Libor submitter. “Come over one day after work and I’m opening a bottle of Bollinger.”
Who puts that kind of stuff in an EMAIL?!?!
The_Craw: Barclays traders also coordinated with counterparts from other banks. In an instant message, one Barclays trader wrote to a trader at another bank: “If you know how to keep a secret I’ll bring you in on it, we’re going to push the cash downwards. … I know my treasury’s firepower … please keep it to yourself otherwise it won’t work.”
Brad: They couldn’t even be bothered with code words! Like it’s so hard to say “I only need 5.39 tomatoes today, any more tomatoes than that and the salad will be ruined.”
Brad: “Well how long will it take you to make the salad?” “I’ll have the salad done in three days, so please only provide me with 5.39 tomatoes for the next three days, thank you.” HOW HARD IS THAT?
Ladies and gentlemen of the audience, the Textual Fisticuffs Institute for Punching People Repeatedly In The Face With Information Until They Stop Being So Goddamn Stupid is proud to present, as a part of our ongoing lecture series entitled “People Figured This Out Back In The 70′s, What In The Absolute Hell Is Wrong With Your Brain”, an excerpt from James Burke’s excellent television series Connections.