The LIBOR rate fixing scandal could grow

After heads rolled last week at Barclays Bank following admission that the bank rigged key interest rates that underlie millions of consumer loans from home mortgages to credit cards, there are new allegations that other banks may be involved, and that this massive rip-off has been going on for decades. As one financial insider admitted to The Economist, “fifteen years ago, the word was that LIBOR was being rigged.” The insider went on to say that he remembers rate fixing as far back as the 1980’s. And Business Insider is reporting that the Federal Reserve was worried about LIBOR manipulation as far back as 14 years ago.

Now, other banks are being investigated for their role in rate-rigging – including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and UBS. However, it’s unlikely anyone will actually go to jail for this multi-billion dollar fraud since we have a two-tiered justice system – one for working people who can be thrown in prison for stealing a Slurpee - and one for the banksters who get to skate with a small fine when they steal billions of dollars.

Curiously, even Wall Street knows criminal activity pays off for banksters. A recent survey of 500 Wall Street senior executives revealed that 24% of bankers believe they need to “engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful.” I don’t call them banksters for nothing.


kara2004's picture
kara2004 10 years 36 weeks ago

Do I think any of these banksters will be brought to justice?

Not a chance. maybe one....who'll get pardoned at the end of the next presidential term....

agebel's picture
agebel 10 years 36 weeks ago

No, as long as politicians need money they will not do anything to stop getting it.

There are not enough politicians like Bernie Sanders.

js121's picture
js121 10 years 36 weeks ago

Yes, they need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. White collar crime must end. Holder has his hands full right now and now is not the right time for Obama to push it as they are spending all their $$ fighting his re-election.....they know what's going to happen if he wins...and, I truly believe that there will be justice if Obama gets a majority in the House/Senate/Courts.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 10 years 36 weeks ago

It is worth it to mow lawns in federal prison for a couple years when you have hundreds of millions waiting for you in Switzerland.

Sushi's picture
Sushi 10 years 36 weeks ago

"After heads rolled last week at Barclays Bank..."

Heads rolled? If only heads actually rolled. Probably more like "eyes rolled."

Meanwhile, I am wondering if any of you have had this happen, because this is twice now from Bank United: I sent my mortgage check and it was not cashed. I found this out when they sent me a foreclosure proceeding notice, so I ran to the nearest branch and wrote two for the "skipped" payment and one for the current one. Three days later, they cashed my first check. That really dented my bank account to have three mortgages taken out in one bite. Now it is happening again, except I caught it early this time. They say they did not receive my payment, so I am going to give them my account so they can take the payment due....anyone want to place bets that they will double cash my first and second payment again? Are they trying to trick people into cutting it so close that they can rack up charges or just want a boost to their bottom line for a month? This time, two payments is going to sting.

Thom....if you get a spare minute, could you ask if this is a common occurrence? If we each think it is just happening to them individually, but it could be an epidemic and we just don't know about it.

MILee's picture
MILee 10 years 36 weeks ago

Criminal behavior such as the earlier scandals and now Barclays and Libor should be evidence enough that we, the 99%, need an organization such as Occupy to upturn the current runaway corporate-controlled politicians and send them packing-the sooner the better. Sooner or later the Tea Party group and middle-income Republicans are going to find out that they, too, have been led down the primrose path and mean absolutely nothing to those who used them for their own means.

Of course, nothing will be done to the perpetrators of these crimes, as they are in the drivers' seats now. But remember, as powerful as they are, they are in the minority, and as such are vulnerable to a massive uprising. I am approaching 87 years of age, am an active member of Occupy, have been politically active since age 8, and intend to help facilitate a sea change in the way our nation performs its constitutional duties, SCOTUS included as it, too, is a politically-motivated body. I love this country in which I have lived these many years, and will not stand by and see it cast to the dogs.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 36 weeks ago

Well, Sushi, you are certainly not alone in being scammed by the banks. I used to mail in my credit card payments, actually all my bills, well before 10 days before the due date. And several times I was informed that they didn't receive payment. I had to cancel the checks and write new ones.

Now, I don't even wait at soon as I receive the bills in the mail...I write the checks and send them right out at a major Post Office branch. And I don't even trust my small local post office as I suspect they may have been part of the reason my mail didn't get to the credit card company in time. But, as I always pay my credit card bills in full and never a partial payment...they don't get a lot of interest from me.

It seems every once in a while they either fail to send out the bills on time or they claim they haven't yet received payment...thereby charging me penalties and interest. I have gotten rid of all my credit cards but one...and I have often thought that I might even get rid of that one. Cash works out quite nicely, actually...and they can't monitor what you buy or where you are at any particular time...unless you use a discount card...then "they" know everything you buy when you use it.

There is just no way of knowing who is at fault. I don't mail my checks using outside drive by boxes anymore either. I had some checks stolen from the overstuffed box (it was just before Christmas). I knew right after I dropped the letters in the box that the box was so full that someone could easily reach in a grab a handful of mail. Again, I had to cancel checks and resend new ones. Then weeks later, I get my bank statement showing some electronic transfers out of my account that I didn't make. After going to the bank, they investigated and after many more over a month...I found out that they redeposited that money. No explanation as to the results of "the investigation". Then, several months later, I get a notice from the credit card company again saying they didn't receive payment...but this time...I mailed it as soon as I got it and at my small local Post Office...inside. I was really ticked off at my credit card company thinking they were up to tricks to get me to pay interest and penalties. But, it could have been my local post office.

I don't have on-line banking because I know how insecure that is and that the banks can always try to say I was careless with my password...or something. It is all too easy and has happened much more often than the news reports. It is like a dirty little secret the banks would rather you not know about. They are tougher on business accounts than they are on individual Ocean Bank vs Patco Construction where hackers stole over half a million dollars and the courts ruled in favor of Ocean Bank when Patco Construction tried to recoup the money.

I suppose, if you really wanted to narrow down the problem, you could mail your bills via registered mail...then you'd have proof that you can throw at them. Might be cheaper than having to pay penalties or extra interest charges. Whatever you do..don't use on-line bill pay...or on-line open yourself up to the mercy of hackers who can, and do, empty bank accounts.

Many years ago I tried using on-line bill pay and I got a notice from my mortgage company that they did not receive payment. I checked with the bank...and the bank (not the same one that held my mortgage) said that the payment had been debited from my account. I was caught between my mortgage company and my other bank. After many frightful days of telephone calls...I finally get a message from my mortgage company that the problem was fixed...but never any mention of who was at fault. Using on-line bill paying, I didn't even have a canceled check that I could use to prove the mortgage company was in err.

Yup, getting rid of my last credit card sounds like a good idea. Who needs credit? It is just a stupid trap anyway. They've got us all so wrapped around their little fingers and led by the nose it's pitiful.

If they tick me off anymore, I may very well just call them up and tell them to shove it. Yes, as with all the other credit cards I canceled, they tried to talk me out of it...saying "think of what it will do to your credit". Without hesitation, I said "Cancel it now!" Kinda funny actually! I have excellent credit...always have...and aside from buying a house...many years ago...I never really needed credit except to make it just a little bit more convenient to buy things.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 36 weeks ago

How often does this happen to you? You buy something with cash and the cashier marks something on the bills you hand him/her and holds them up to the light... scrutinizing them carefully. You stand there thinking "Oh, so you think I'm a counterfeiter, do you?"

One time I stood in line and this happened to the guy ahead of me and he shocked the cashier when, after she hands him bills in change, he holds the bill up to the light and scrutinizes the bill...shaking his head..and saying "ummm, I don't know.....!" The cashier goes "WELL!" and kind of nervously laughs it off.

Of course, there is a reason why the cashier checks these bills...they very well could be counterfeit. And the merchant is going to be a lot more careful than most people. Because the merchant knows that if you get stuck with a counterfeit bill(s) you are not only out of the money but you could be in a lot of trouble if you try to pass it on to someone else. Even people who have gotten money out of bank ATMs have been given counterfeit bills. It happens more than they want you to know about. I had read that counterfeit bills holds a relatively large percentage of the total bills in circulation.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 36 weeks ago

Well Palindromedary and Sushi, how about a little advise from someone who has never had the problems you two have experienced in making payments on time, for whatever reason. You have computers with secured systems, pay online! You will get a confirmation number and generally a reply indicating you payment was received on time. Seems like you are both wasting alot of time complaining about a problem with a simple solution. This is the 21st. century and your still using the same method of payment that seems to be creating your problem, whether it be the banks or the postal system. I do not trust the banks either, so use a system that will prevent them from screwing you over!! As far as the banksters screwing the public with tricks and lies, that is not new news to anyone who has had to deal with the bastards, so use a system they use called computers to make sure they can not keep it up or call them if you refuse to use online service before your payment is due to confirm they received your money.........Not brain surgery to figure this one out! Good luck in the future.......

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 36 weeks ago

Quotes from Matt Taibbi's article in Rolling Stone:
The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia
How America's biggest banks took part in a nationwide bid-rigging conspiracy - until they were caught on tape

'...Corruption is a business model that brings in $66 for every dollar you invest. Even more startling was the way that a notorious incident involving former New Mexico governor and presidential candidate Bill Richardson resurfaced during the trial. Barack Obama, you may recall, had nominated Richardson to be commerce secretary – only to have the move blow up in his face when tales of Richardson accepting bribes began to make the rounds. Federal prosecutors never brought a case against Richardson: In 2009, an inside source told the AP that the investigation had been "killed in Washington." Obama himself, after Richardson bowed out, praised the former governor as an "outstanding public servant."

Now, in the Carollo trial, defense counsel got Doug Goldberg, the CDR broker, to admit that his boss, Stewart Wolmark, had handed him an envelope containing a check for $25,000. The check was payable to none other than Moving America Forward – Bill Richardson's political action committee. Goldberg then went to a Richardson fundraiser and handed the politician the envelope. Richardson, pleased, told Goldberg, "Tell the big guy I'm going to hire you guys." '

"When we allow Wall Street to continually raid the public cookie jar, we're not just enriching a bunch of petty executives (Wolmark's income in 2008, two years after he was busted in the FBI raid, was $2,464,210.18) – we're effectively creating an alternate government, one in which money lifted from the taxpayer's pocket through mob-style schemes turns into a kind of permanent shadow tax, used to maintain the corruption and keep the thieves in place. And that cuts right to the heart of what this case is all about. Wall Street is tired of making money by competing for business and weathering the vagaries of the market. What it wants instead is something more like the deal the government has – regularly collecting guaranteed taxes. What's crazy is that in order to justify that dream of regular, monopolistic tribute, they've begun to see themselves as a type of shadow government, watching out for the rest of us. Amazingly enough, this even became a defense at trial."

"The men and women who run these corrupt banks and brokerages genuinely believe that their relentless lying and cheating, and even their anti-competitive cartel­style scheming, are all legitimate market processes that lead to legitimate price discovery."

"Capitalism is a system for determining objective value. What these Wall Street criminals have created is an opposite system of value by fiat. Prices are not objectively determined by collisions of price information from all over the market, but instead are collectively negotiated in secret, then dictated from above."

"One of the biggest lies in capitalism," says Eliot Spitzer, "is that companies like competition. They don't. Nobody likes competition."

"In the end, though, the conviction of a few bit players seems like far too puny a punishment, given that the bid rigging exposed in Carollo involved an entrenched system that affected major bond issues in every state in the nation. You find yourself thinking, America's biggest banks ripped off the entire country, virtually every day, for more than a decade! A truly commensurate penalty would be something like televised stonings of the top 10 executives of every guilty bank, or maybe the forcible resettlement of every banker and broker in Lower Manhattan to some uninhabited Andean wasteland... anything to address the systemic nature of the crime.

No such luck. Instead of anything resembling real censure, a few young executives got spanked, while the offending banks got off with slap-on-the-wrist fines and were allowed to retain their pre-eminent positions in the municipal bond market."

"Get busted for welfare fraud even once in America, and good luck getting so much as a food stamp ever again. Get caught rigging interest rates in 50 states, and the government goes right on handing you billions of dollars in public contracts."

"...the bid-rigging scandal laid bare in USA v. Carollo is a totally different animal. This is the world's biggest banks stealing money that would otherwise have gone toward textbooks and medicine and housing for ordinary Americans, and turning the cash into sports cars and bonuses for the already rich. It's the equivalent of robbing a charity or a church fund to pay for lap dances."

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 36 weeks ago

Well, Ken Ware, I am far from being a Luddite and strive to keep as informed and up to date and knowledgeable about technology..especially computers, networks, and encryption as I can be.

I know that, providing you are not using certificates that have been compromised, and providing you don't have a keystroke logger, or other virus or trojans embedded in your kernal as a rootkit (which evades detection by most virus checkers), or if you are using a live usb Linux virtual OS, along with a Stateful Firewalled router and possibly other monitoring or prevention software or hardware devices, then you might be able to avoid being, at least, might make it just a little bit harder for someone to break in. But, not everyone goes to any of these measures to avoid being hacked. And even if they did...they can still get hacked. Most people are not going to use their computer strictly to do their banking and pay bills..they will also surf the internet and could easily pick up a virus. Even just their presence online even if they aren't surfing, they can be detected and broken in to.

People are getting hacked all the time and if they have sensitive information on their computers...or even just momentarily when you type in your username and passwords...keystroke loggers can monitor everything you type in. People are not only getting hacked all the time but many have had their bank accounts wiped out once these hackers get the username and passwords. Of course some banks use, in addition to usernames and passwords, another form of authentication..which would help but not entirely prevent keeping your information private. Man-in-the-middle, Firesheep, Metasploit, Backtrack, there are many tools that can be used to crack open your computer or intercept information.

I have seen web sites that posted thousands of people's captured bank account numbers, balances, names and addresses, and they, along with the passwords, were all for sale. And don't think those certificates are always reliable as we found out a number of times from cert providers having been DigiNotar, for example. They went out of business, as they deserved to, and are not a problem anymore but even these companies can be hacked.

I am fully into the 21st century but I am also aware of the pitfalls that await the unsuspecting, unguarded, true believers who put all their faith into something they know little about and rely on the pretensions of authority and security that these banks sell you. And until they can really make the internet safe to the point where I can trust my money, and the political and judicial system is more protective of us rather than the banks, I'll keep writing checks and helping the PO stay in business a little longer. (Not that I fully trust the PO either...they sometimes do deliver my mail to neighbors houses and vice versa...which, of course, if they so chose could steam open the letters and glean all my personal data.) But at least, that would be keeping it more local and possibly able to identify who stole my identification and/or wiped out my bank account than some Eastern European or Ethiopian Mafia. And if you think we are perfectly safe, in this 21st century, then you need to read my previous post of the quotes from the Matt Taibbi article. We have handed all our money over to powerful Mafia-like banksters hoping that they don't make our money disappear someday.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 36 weeks ago

"Sixty million euro has been stolen from bank accounts in a massive cyber bank raid after fraudsters raided dozens of financial institutions around the world.

According to a joint report by software security firm McAfee and Guardian Analytics, more than 60 firms have suffered from what it has called an "insider level of understanding".

"The fraudsters' objective in these attacks is to siphon large amounts from high balance accounts, hence the name chosen for this research - Operation High Roller," the report said.

"If all of the attempted fraud campaigns were as successful as the Netherlands example we describe in this report, the total attempted fraud could be as high as 2bn euro (£1.6bn)."

The automated malicious software programme was discovered to use servers to process thousands of attempted thefts from both commercial firms and private individuals.

The stolen money was then sent to so-called mule accounts in caches of a few hundreds and 100,000 euro (£80,000) at a time.

Credit unions, large multinational banks and regional banks have all been attacked."

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 36 weeks ago

Iran's Central Bank has announced that the electronic information of 3 million customers of 10 Iranian banks have been compromised. These banks now require their customers to change their ATM pin numbers before they can access their account. This has caused a rush to the ATM machines by the worried customers.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 36 weeks ago

Criminal hackers have found a way round the latest generation of online banking security devices given out by banks, the BBC has learned.

After logging in to the bank's real site, account holders are being tricked by the offer of training in a new "upgraded security system".

Money is then moved out of the account but this is hidden from the user.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 36 weeks ago

" May a mannequin company in Brooklyn, N.Y., lost $1.2 million in just a few hours. Verizon (VZ) analyzed hundreds of data breaches in 2010 and found that 63 percent of them happened at companies that had 100 or fewer employees."

"..According to a report from computer security company McAfee, a unit of Intel (INTC), and online banking security vendor Guardian Analytics, hackers are using fraud automation to increase the power and speed of their attacks. Tools also abound on hacker sites to help people illegally tap into company information networks.

The solution? There may not be one, and for the same reasons that large companies remain vulnerable. Computer security is expensive. To many executives, it's a black hole for spending. Even big companies with significant IT staffs have difficulty keeping up with all the changes, updates, modifications, and upgrades necessary to keep up with the world of criminal hacking."

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 36 weeks ago

A hacker claiming to have broken into networks of dozens of banks and stolen customer data, has released as proof a file that contains names, addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers in plain text, but no credit card numbers.

"I penetrated over 79 large banks, I've been targetting these banks since 3 months," read a tweet from the Twitter account of Reckz0r. "Actually, I didn't hacked VISA & Mastercard, I hacked the banks, #Chase..etc."

A Pastebin post from today has a link to a downloadable file on the site that appears to have data from about 1,700 accounts in the U.S. and other cities around the world. Reckz0r said only a portion of the credit card information is being leaked because there is just too much of it, and that the credit card numbers are being withheld. Reports in Dutch media referred to 50 gigabytes of data and 113 pages.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 36 weeks ago

Then again..maybe things may be update on the Ocean Bank vs Patco Construction of July 10, 2012:

"A Maine construction company that saw its online bank account fraudulently drained of about $589,000 might get some of it back due to what a US federal court has deemed shoddy security systems at its bank.

Patco Construction Company, based in Sanford, Maine, sued Ocean Bank - later acquired by People's United Bank - after thieves put through six wire transfers using the Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer system in 2009.

A three-judge federal appeals court panel last Tuesday agreed with Patco, finding that Ocean Bank's online security measures were not "commercially reasonable," reversing a lower court ruling from May 2011.

Over the course of seven days in May 2009, the criminals pilfered $588,851.26 from the construction company's account.

Ocean Bank managed to block or claw back $243,406.83 of that, leaving Patco $345,444.43 in the red.

It's not that Ocean Bank's security system didn't flag these transactions. On the contrary, each of the six transfers were flagged as high risk, given that they didn't match the timing, value and geographic location of Patco's typical payment orders.

Regardless of the high-risk flags, the bank failed to notify Patco, allowing the bogus transfers to flow unchecked."

"A three-judge federal appeals court panel last Tuesday agreed with Patco, finding that Ocean Bank's online security measures were not "commercially reasonable," reversing a lower court ruling from May 2011."

"It's not that Ocean Bank's security system didn't flag these transactions. On the contrary, each of the six transfers were flagged as high risk, given that they didn't match the timing, value and geographic location of Patco's typical payment orders.

Regardless of the high-risk flags, the bank failed to notify Patco, allowing the bogus transfers to flow unchecked. "

"...Patco discovered that a system had been infected with the Zeus/Zbot banking Trojan, which steals banking information via keystroke logging and form grabbing - an advanced method of snaring web form data within browsers.

The hypothesis is that the thieves captured a Patco employee's keystrokes when she entered answers to challenge questions - questions that came up every time the company initiated a transfer, thanks to Ocean Bank's having pegged the challenge questions to any transfer of $1 or more."

"That still won't get Patco back its money, though.

The court declined to award damages, instead suggesting that the parties settle out of court.

The judges noted that Article 4A is a sticky wicket that needs to be untangled vis-a-vis a bank customer's responsibilities in protecting its own systems. The UCC doesn't allow claims such as negligence, fraud or breach of contract."

"As it now stands, liability for financial damages due to hacking is a hot-potato lobbed from businesses to financial institutions and back again.

Of course, as the judges made clear, responsibility for strong security doesn't reside only with financial institutions. Customers, be they individuals or businesses, must do their part.

But the security missteps brought to light in this ruling shine a clear light on exactly what second-rate security looks like. It's not that Ocean Bank didn't spend money on its security, mind you: the bank bought the Premium offering from its vendor. "

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 36 weeks ago

New E-Banking Trojans Target Android Users:

"The security firm Trusteer reports that new Web-based attacks are targeting Android smartphone users in a campaign to circumvent two-factor sign-on features used by many banks to protect account holders.

Writing on the Trusteer blog on Tuesday, CTO Amit Klein of Trusteer said that researchers there have identified new attacks against mobile banking customers that use both the SpyEye and Tatanga banking Trojans. The attacks, which target Android mobile device users, but not those of other platforms, is the latest evidence that cyber criminals are concentrating on Google's Android platform, which makes up 51% of the mobile smart phone market in the U.S. and between 46% and 61% in the major European markets."

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee 10 years 36 weeks ago

As far as your banking and paying credit card bills or mortgages you don't have to pay online or by mail. You can have an automatic payment deducted from your bank account for either set mortgage amount or whole credit card bill amount. No fees, no penalties, no post. For verification if you don't want to check the balance by computer, there is also ATM balance statement, and touch tone phone balances.

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