In Barclays Inquiry, the Calculation in Making a Deal – Common Sense – NYTimes.com

14 Jul

Barclays: Too big to indict?

The question needs to be faced in the wake of the bank’s admitted efforts to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, known as Libor, the benchmark for countless interest rate determinations and approximately $450 trillion in derivative contracts.

If the Justice Department was looking for a textbook case of white-collar financial crime — including a conspiracy that was flourishing at the height of the financial crisis — this would seem tailor-made. As the facts released by the government make clear, there were two separate but overlapping schemes to manipulate Libor within Barclays. Yet the bank secured a nonprosecution agreement and agreed to pay a penalty of more than $450 million, a comparatively paltry sum for a bank that had more than £32 billion ($50 billion) in revenue in 2011. “The perception so far has been that the regulators have been toothless,” John C. Coffee Jr., professor of law and specialist in white-collar crime at Columbia Law School, told me this week.

via In Barclays Inquiry, the Calculation in Making a Deal – Common Sense – NYTimes.com.

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