Barnier Calls LIBOR “Absolute Failure of Moral Values”

By Tom
Updated on

Punish the Banksters!

La Vanguardia has:

The European Commission is raising its voice against the ”Banksters” – inventing new derogatives in the process.


”In the LIBOR (the interbank interest rate fixed in London) manipulation scandal an absolute failure of moral values has been seen in some financial institutions to the disadvantage of the depositors, the businesses, and the public authorities,” the European Commissioner for Financial Services, Michel Barnier, told a group of journalists.


“This behaviour should be punished without any excuses: For these, the inspecting authorities in all the countries in the EU should have the power to identify and investigate these manipulations – and simultaneously the judges have the power to punish – in the most grave cases with prison.”


I’m a bit surprised the subject of public flogging and beheading hasn’t come up!

The point is however that this is a EU Commissioner speaking, not an EU Parliament back bencher confiding to a reporter in a bar.


The EU Commission does not decide the types and penal sanctions, nor the gravity of the crimes that the EU countries should include in their penal codes. But the EU Commissions proposal can ask the EU member states to institute legislation in their penal codes, concerning such crimes as direct manipulation of refrence indicators, the instigation and participation of such crimes and the intention for enrichment of such indicators – and at the same time establish effective penal sanctions.

”There will be zero tolerance for the manipulators,” the EU Commissioner of Justice Viviane Reding. ”The LIBOR and many other similar indices play a key role in the dealing with risk in our economy and the impact (of the different types of interbank interest rates) is noticeable in almost all financial services and products of the planet.”

The coordination of the two statements – in time – point to a common ground between the member states, as there is little that is regarded more jealously than the national sovereignty in the matters.

One might have to note that an obscure legal matter of male circumcision has cropped up in the European debate – bringing the Jewish and Muslim communities up in heat (allied for once). This must be a diversionary manoeuvre, as the urgency of debating this millennia old practice eludes the sceptical. Perhaps they have run out of standardisation subjects in the vegetables and cheese department?

Politics is sometimes: “Let’s talk about something completely different!” I will omit several jokes in poor taste that spring to mind.

There is another factor to consider:

Punishing crimes committed antedating the specific legislation is more than problematic, if you are to stick to generally accepted legal principles. Nor should it be necessary – provided you can prove bad faith and criminal intent under other laws. The commissioners cannot be unaware of that, as any first year paralegal would have told them.

No! It is probably done to encourage the communicative spirit in the financial world. A stint in a dungeon in Transylvania might persuade a bank employee with apprehensions to give a detailed account.

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