Recently the trial began in a London court of Thomas Hayes, the first banker, to face criminal charges in connection with the rigging of the London-based international inter-bank lending rate known as LIBOR. This was an apparently quite widespread malpractice within the banking sector for several years both before and after the global financial crisis of 2008. Already several major banks have had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fines for employees of theirs having been deemed complicit in it. Until last week’s trial opened, no one had faced criminal charges for complicity in this malpractice.
Banks are like governments, you can’t altogether do without them, however often you wish that you could. So when I read that one of the banks of which I am a small and unimportant customer had been engaged in the fraudulent manipulation of interest rates, fined accordingly, and denuded of its top management by involuntary resignation, I can’t say that I was altogether surprised.