Massive Furor in UK Over Libor Manipulation; Where’s the Outrage Here?
Posted by Yves Smith
In case it isn’t yet apparent to you, the unfolding scandal over manipulation of Libor and its Euro counterpart Euribor is a huge deal. Even though at this point, only Barclays, the UK bank that was first to settle, is in the hot lights, at least 16 other major financial players, which means pretty much everybody, is implicated.
First, Libor is the basis for pricing over $10 trillion of loans. As the CTFC noted:
US dollar Libor is the basis for the settlement of the three-month Eurodollar futures contract traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which had a traded volume in 2011 with a notional value exceeding $564 trillion.
The Wall Street Journal puts total in contracts affected at $800 trillion.
Second is that price fixing is a criminal violation under the Sherman antitrust act. The Department of Justice stressed that Barclays had been the first bank to cooperate with the investigation and had been extremely forthcoming, and for that reason it would not be prosecuted if it complied with the settlement terms for two years. The implication is that the DoJ will not be as generous with other banks involved in the price-fixing scheme. This is an overview from the Financial Times of Barclay’s misdeeds: .....(cont'd)