LIBOR SCAM: BBA head Knight is on the board of one of the biggest money brokers in the sector.

The Slog enjoys a last word on Libor, and raises its eyes to eurozone anarchy, the FCO’s Eastern Med shambles, and a blow for the Greek coalition from those nice Troikanauts.

Following the recent Slogpost about the BBA’s Angela Knight, her somewhat misleading evidence to the TSC some years back, and her closeness to Terry Smith among many others, I find myself being taken to task by Nick Woods, an account director at City PR firm M:Communications. I now unreservedly apologise to Terry, Angela and Nick (who is Terry’s pr man) for suggesting that Ms Knight is on the Board of Fundsmith.

Nick is right, she isn’t: she’s on the Board of Terry’s rather larger holding company Tullet Prebon, of which Terry has been the Chief Executive since December 2006. I would’ve thought this makes their relationship even closer, and Terry’s self-styled Robin Hood image even more unlikely: Tullet Prebon is one of the largest inter-dealer money brokers in the world. It is therefore something of a conflict for Angie to be on its Board while allegedly offering objective information to the world about how the Libor rate is not being fixed; and pretty damn difficult for Terry to say he was unaware of that fixing. But there we are: I’m glad it’s all been cleared up, and I’m indebted to Nick for pointing out my underestimate of the hypocrisy involved re this one.

Readers new to The Slog’s mercilessly apolitical attack on all things City, bourse, Libor and so forth will perhaps not know that my interests stretch well beyond the temporary sideshow being billed as Tucker v Diamond, the Rematch. This seems also to be true of outside observers of the scrap: ratings agencies S&P and Moody’s have both put Barclays on negative watch, citing ‘uncertainty created by the loss of three senior executives’ that will ‘create uncertainty over the bank’s direction’. No mentions of Bank of England complicity, or Barclays criminality: clearly, both raters are applying their Russian House Rules to credit viability estimates these days.

However, that said, it is high time the British MSM lifted its eyes away from an infinity of Enquiries, and surveyed the broader mess formerly known as the global economy. A little while ago, The ECB cuts its benchmark lending rate by an expected 25 basis points to 0.75%. The market reaction to this was almost exactly zero, suggesting yet again that many markets long ago pronounced the euro dead. Angela Merkel, of course, continues to insist that the euro will survive and prosper, but she too must also keep at least one eye on an increasingly dangerous domestic political situation for her Austerity or Die drive towards a Fiscal Union of bankrupts. Largely aiming her comments at the German audience, she pured dilutign cold water on last week’s surrender at the EU summit, saying Germany entered no new agreements, took on no new EU commitments, and agreed to no new bailout rules.

That isn’t the way most everyone else remembers the occasion, but then it can’t be long before Die Kleine Geli explains to the world that she is in fact The Fairy in charge of the EU’s Magic Belly-Button Screwdriver, and should anyone be entertaining ideas about getting rid of her, the eurozone’s legs will assuredly drop off.

Meanwhile, Lord High Protector against the Greeks David Cameron saw his Ambassador in Athens David Landsman summoned to the ministry on the instructions of Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos. There, he was told by the Yannis-Alexis Zepos, the ministry’s general secretary, that Cameron’s statement “might create false impressions, hindering the efforts to strengthen the climate of trust that is vital to confronting the economic crisis in Europe”. Which particular bit of confrontational trust he was on about wasn’t clear, but what is very obvious by now is that Dave and his pet billiard-ball Willy Hague have alienated the two (by far) most important econo-political allies we have in the Eastern Med, Greece and Israel. Their new natural resources and joint pipeline project make that a certainty: but meanwhile, the inhabitants of Camerlot are only just catching on to Moscow’s growing influence on the pivotal island in the region, Cyprus….a fact laid before the by The Slog over a fortnight ago.

And finally, although most of the MSM missed it, the European Central Bank urged Greece to avoid any further delays in implementing major structural reforms. Joerg Asmussen, an international negotiator for the bank, went onto German telly to pour ice-cold water on the idea that Greece might win quick concessions from the Troika. Asmussen said Greece must fulfill the targets of its austerity and reform program “100 percent” if the country wants to stay in the euro, allowing no wriggle room on timings – ie, giving the Greeks more time to comply.

This will come as something of a blow to the Pasok/ND coalition in Athens. The Troika will be delivering the formal message there this weekend. They should beware any and all grassy knolls.

63 thoughts on “LIBOR SCAM: BBA head Knight is on the board of one of the biggest money brokers in the sector.

  1. Wouldn’t think yet another institution/politician telling Greece to shut up and austere already is actually news, so not surprised the MSM doesn’t report on it… much like reporting the sun has come up today: it just happens but is immaterial to further proceedings.
    Just as surely, Greece (with EU/Germany abetting) will find some other way to appear to cut spending while in fact not doing so… until the bubble finally bursts….

  2. I have just given up trying make any sense whatsover of a vicious mudslinging session which parliament so laughably passes for ‘debate’ these days. The conduct of MP’s and the front bench on both sides is nothing short of appalling. To contemplate for one moment that this gang of bawling yobs are in charge of UK PLC beggers belief.

    • The US Congress can’t be too far behind. But this is one of the functions of politicos — to act as lightning rods for people’s anger and anxiety, or so we learned at school. Perhaps we should thank them all for doing such an excellent job! :)

  3. We should not disregard the fact that most countries that are in the Euro, for some strange reason are desperate to stay in it and I have personal experience of this in Spain. There is more than monetry union for some countries, they also have unstable political backgrounds. Spain, Greece, Italy etc have had dictators ruling their countries within the last 60 years and that is still fresh in the national psyche. They desperately want the €uro to work as they are of the opinion it will safeguard their future in a peaceful, democratic society.

    • I’m sure you’re right. But their desire is misguided as the EU itself is becoming yet another model of big govt dictatorship through the unelected Brussels apparatchiks and the likes of Merky serving up demands on EZ members despite their sovereignty.

    • Excellent point, well made. It’s their safety-net against what happened in their memorable past, regardless of whether it’s economically viable or not.

    • Yes, that’s certainly one reason. Being in the EU is not enough, they want to belong to the central club of the Euro. It confers status, well it did. Another reason is the structural funds and CAP that come every year from Brussels. This is not directly as a result of the Euro, but the recipients know that the amounts are very large indeed and would leave a large hole were they curtailed for bad behaviour. Spain has been nervous for some time that the accession states from the East would supplant them as subsidy recipients. But they don’t need to worry, Brussels has thought of that, hence the large rise in the Commission’s take for next year.

    • I think a lot of them don’t actually like democracy as such, as they aren’t really born to it. They consider modern democracy a decadent Anglo-American idea forced on them from the outside. They prefer the Napoleonic approach. In many cases they actually liked the Nazis and the facists and resented being told by the Americans to stop being Nazi/Facist and whatever. Germany was run mainly by Nazis after WWII.

      • We greeks are rather fond of democracy actually, and I can assure you it has NEVER occurred to us to see it as an Anglo-American idea, let alone an idea forced on us from the outside!

      • @Just Sayin’: I note Eleni’s point, but there is also a lot of truth in what you say here.
        And frankly, much the same can be said about Britain where many people despise one political party or the other – not because it is too big or too dictatorial, but simply because it doesn’t do the things they want. They really want a dictatorship of their choosing. The most effective way of bringing Big Govt to heel is by having a strong written constitution. Yet the support for that in Britain is minimal among the population, which proves my point.

  4. I do not think most countries are desperate to stay in the Euro ; surveys are always mainpulated and skewed . The longer Spain and Italy stay in theEuro the worse things will get . We’ve known this now for over a year . The only things holding the Euro are 1 Fed money 2 Germanys fear of a humongous recession in the case of a break-up . ZERO RATES .. and Spanish 10 years off 40 bps , 5 years 50 bps higher .

  5. @SITC.QE £375 billion.Stimulus to GDP? Wealth transfer from mostly retired savers to indebted mortgagees?Inflation?Sound money?

    • Come on william, you know that they know that we know, and that we can do nothing if the idiots take the easy route and debase the currency. It was ever thus.

  6. Well, I wouldn’t worry too much folks, the US is bound to start another war any day soon now….
    Oh, Ashton and Knight (sounds like a firm of accountants doesn’t it?) Are they related in any way, other than by hubris, arrogance and self-satisfying incompetence?

  7. I too fail to completely understand the desire to stay in the Euro. Basic common sense alludes to it only being suitable for a small number of nations. They seem to have forgotten the amount of tourist ‘dollars’ that flowed into the economies, and could again..I suppose in the case of Greece they never really knew the true benefit of tourism, as most of the money disappeared straight into the Greek peoples pocket, and never saw the revenue’s coffers!

    • @kfc: i can only speak about Greece – maybe the reasons differ in other PIIGS.
      Someone wrote in a comment above that’s maybe it’s the memory of dictatorships and political turmoil. Not for Greece. The fear of social/political unrest is already here, euro or drachma.
      So, we Greeks voted to stay in the Euro
      a) desire to stay in EZ? Yes. Why? Because people remember how week drachma was in past decades. They remember the high inflation in prices, house rents etc (more than 10% yearly).
      b) fear of exit? Definitely yes – this is the second main reason. Fear of the troublesome period (at least 2 years) that a euro exit will bring. most people here feel they are in a euro trap. Once inside, the exit is full of thorns that will bring a tremendous bleed.
      I’m not arguing whether we should choose to take that pain and bleeding here – merely trying to give you the picture.

  8. Oh, O/T but, anybody know if that ‘week’ we had to save the Euro is up yet?
    If it is I expect they will find another week later on at the next summit.

  9. The Telegraph keeps writing out ‘stories’ (they’re not even that) full of Terry Smith’s spin. It’s utterly embarrassing. The retail fund industry is now so tarnished with exorbitant fees, they tell us, so Terry will cut his! Aw, my hero, Terry.

    Never mind the fees, Terry. The funds you’re selling look about as credible as you.

    The Telegraph makes me sick to my stomach these days. I didn’t think they’d outdo their grovelling to the Buckingham Palace mafia but they’re masters at this now.

    Ripped off by financiers? Telegraph’s response: too much regulation.

    It’s beyond satire.

    • Crap.Fundsmith’s performance is far better than average with less volatility and less risk and much lower charges. Based on the KISS principle – Keep it Simple Stupid!

      • @OAH.I sold my NU life policy,at auction,put the proceeds in Terry Smith’s fund,and £1 has become £1.25.Not many fund managers have the bloke in charge putting up £25 m of his own money,from the outset.

  10. It is clear that those of us that fail to see or understand the desire to stay in the Euro will be absolutely flabergasted by the Polish government’s desire to get in ( as stated by its Foreign Minister Sikorski at the current Visegrad 4 meeting). Mind you he did go on to say the Europe is having to cope with a debt crisis and once this is fixed, Poland will look to enter the Euro ( while chiding the Czechs for their negative stance on membership). Expressions like ‘Don’t hold your breath..’ come to mind.

  11. Not sure I care that much about the Greeks given that the ECB/Ezone leaders haven’t managed to get Spanish and Italian bond yields down despite offering to fund the banks direct and giving up on take precedence in bond payouts. Seems like international investors have really lost patience with the EU and consider it incurable. Following the current bond trends Spain will be totally screwed by August and Italy by October.

    • Greece is very much yesterday’s news. As is, to a degree, Spain and Italy.

      If we make it to autumn (that’s a big “if”), France will be where the last round is fought.

    • This is only part of the story. It was the hedge fund LTCM that was going down in 1999 because it was short gold. Alan Greenspan persuaded Brown to sell the UK gold. He could so that without seeking parliamentary approval. The US Congress would have prevented sales of any US gold. Once again, we were the US mugs and in return Brown gives Greenspam a knighthood! You couldn’t make it up.

    • After that disaster, one might have thought Brown would have taken a moment or two in 1999 to tighten up banking regulations. Instead he did the exact opposite and swept away regulation, which ushered in the next banking collapse of 2007 which continues to this day. Is it unfair to say that Brown is mentally ill?

  12. What I’m interested to see is that now the libor rate is under intense scrutiny, they can’t rig it anymore.

    So does that now bring the doom clock from a steady tick to a full blown sprint towards midnight?

    After all, libor manipulation was one of the banks/politicians/central planners/criminals best and most reliable tools. Now that they can’t use it, the only outcome can only be pretty ugly, right?

    • @ChrisL: To be honest, I think that the only thing which will stop the cards being shuffled and dealt ad infinitum is bank runs precipitated by a hard default/liquidity failure somewhere. At the end of the day, they are the only thing which cannot be manipulated, sidestepped, denied or otherwise controlled. It’s up to us, they will never stop the game until we cash in our chips. Until this happens, the stakes will continue to be raised but the game will continue. You’re right, if this happens it will be very ugly indeed.

    • It’s one small detail in the stinking world of big finance that they can’t corrupt. These snakes have a myriad of other ways of cheating the other 95%.

  13. I read an article some where that it would cost £10billion to bring up to a decent standard ALL the A & B classified roads in the UK.
    But we have bailed out the Bankers to the tune of £140billion+

    Question, which would benefit the country most and reduce employment.
    A] £10billion on the roads or B] £140billion on the bankers.

    Answers on the back of sealed envelope [with £50 note enclosed] to JW.
    The winning answer will get a meal for four in the new cafe in the Schard.

    Just kidding John

    • On the subject of uk’s roads. A goodly portion of the M62 east of Leeds
      has been under a 50mph averaging camera for a good 16 miles and for about 8 months now. The reason being ? To put up gantries and replace lamp posts. The surface of the motorway itself remains untouched, yet in places is treacherous with potholes. The madness continues

      • Is any of that EU financed? It wouldn’t surprise me.

        Leeds has replaced (finished I think) all its lamp posts with assistance from the EU with what appear to be a standard range (even replacing posts replaced within the last three or four years). The efficiency of the teams doing the work has been amazing.

    • Yet, at the same time as that £10bn would benefit every one of 60 million road-users in Britain, they’re still scheming to spend £30bn – £60bn building a 19th century technology train-line just to shave a few minutes of trips for a few rich folk dragging any remaining business from Birmingham to London. You couldn’t make it up.

    • @Lupulco: Methinks someone mislead you. £10 billion wouldn’t get the first dozen A & B roads done. Seriously, to do that think in terms of £300-£400 billion…and that wouldn’t include relaying the foundations.

    • Is it Schard? Or Shard? Was that a Freudian slip?

      Anyhow, come to Spain. The roads are fantastic. Roads that are white on the Michelin large scale maps, being roughly the equivalent of our B roads are in fact better than our A roads. In some cases, much better. And, dare I mention, far, far longer. You know who has paid for these (hint, it was not the Spanish).

  14. I haven’t read the original Cameron statement in English – i have only read the Greek transcripts in the local media. Certainly his statement was not received well in Greece, and If he did made the statement that i read, the man is an imbecile. The Greeks that live and travel to UK are of the upper class mostly. Many of them have big deposits in London banks. You can only guess what they are thinking now….moving their monies from City to a safer heaven….
    If that is the case and Greeks present a huge immigrant problem for UK, Cameron should start with expelling this pretty girl, Caryatid is her name:

    http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/gr/c/caryatid_from_the_erechtheion.aspx

  15. Am I seeing things or did £50 bn just go whizzing through my peripheral vision? Like a red comet…. must have been in fifties..

      • Problem is they are NOT working properly. The money is staying in the banks instead of getting the economy. Much better to print the 50s and drop them for helicopters as BB suggested only partly in jest 8 years ago.

      • @Nick: Apparently, was listening to radio news. How are things over there?

        @oah: Agree completely with the first bit. Worried about the inflationary effects of the other!

      • @Hb: Personally, July is a hell month for me. Company is moving to new premises – restructure and merging. An absolutely necessary measure to keep us afloat. But it means working big overtime – obviously i will disappear from comments from time to time [which is not necessarily a sad thing for all Sloggers :-) ].
        Countrywise and seriously now, it’s strangely quiet. The kind of calm moments like we are in the eye of the storm and hell is about to break loose again big time…..

      • @Nick: Glad to hear there’s work to be done, hope you can hang in there. Despite the roar of political engines, I also sense a cowering quiet – generated by the expectation of the next blow or revelation. I can’t help but see our situation in terms of the classic cartoon animal that has run off a cliff but, with legs still running, refuses to acknowledge what has happened and remains suspended in the air until gravity can no longer support belief.

        @oah: I wish I had your calm sanguinity – I’m suffering from PTSD and they haven’t even started yet ;)

  16. Just been listening to Reggie Middleton on the Keiser Report. Interesting how the CDS for the banks was spiking while the LIBOR was being held down. You would have thought the CEO of a bank would have picked up on that and questioned what was going on?

  17. update on the missing zebra (as outlined in my previous comment on führerurn in berlin):

    the zebra at the junction of wallis road, chapman road, and rothbury road, e9, has now reappeared, repainted onto the tarmac as if by effing socialist magic. thank olympus for that…one can but marvel at the all-encompassing power of slog. the yella beacons are not yet operational, however.

    i’m not sure whether the ‘splashpark’, a popular kiddies’ paddling pool in victoria park, is now properly back in operation…but, in any case, due to a tranche of multi-million pound olympic ‘improvements’ it has (in common with most of the park facilities) been out of action for almost a year-and-a-half – nearly two summers. never mind, east-london residents may well soon have access to the olympic aquarium – in about two years’ time…

    on a sad note, the famous vicky ‘firefox’ ride has been dismantled forever – but authorities have assured concerned park-users that all the deadly viral and bacterial organisms present in the former paddling-pool have been carefully preserved and released back into the new one, as part of a government commitment to conserve the integrity of the local hackney ecology.

    • Are you sure the deadly viral and bacterial organisms weren’t preserved because of their “rights to a family life”.

      • @Wfd: The people who make these decisions are deadly viral and bacterial organisms themselves – it’s a no-brainer for them!

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