Saturday, December 22, 2012

Organised Crime in the City of London - The Year 2012 in Focus

I have received so many vituperative commentaries for the content of my blogs during the past year. There are city practitioners out there in cyberspace who, if their observations could kill....!

But, the truth is that I don't give a flying fuck for them or their comments, because they are the creatures of the swamp from the dark side, and they are part of the organised criminal clique and the criminogenic apologists which have for so long run and administered the City of London. They have run a secret mafia-controlled business environment, one of which Al Capone  once complained  "...It's a racket. Those stock market guys are crooked. Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class...'!

Poor old Al, if only he had known how right he was! The City Establishment comprises the bankers, the stock traders, the insurers, the derivatives manipulators,  coupled with the sycophantic brown nosing of the law firms, the Big 4 accountants and their consultancies, the recruitment agencies, and all the other parasites who live off the crumbs that fall from the rich man's table. They are all bound together by a series of interlinking organisations of controlling influence such as the Ancient Livery Companies, the phantasmagoria of the Lord Mayor and his Court of City Grandees, rolled-up trouser legs, nooses, and funny handshakes.

They have about as much relevance in the modern world as the Apothecaries, the Cordwainers, and the Fletchers, whose titles they continue to ape. The one true Livery company whose name contains some semblance of truth is that of the Launderers, but I suspect that they don't share my sense of humour and appreciate the irony!

All in all, the City of London is a secret, offshore jurisdiction into which ziga-gillions of other's funny money routinely arrives and departs, satisfactorily cleaned up! It is a home for every kind of fleeing financing, and just as they have done for centuries, the City fathers will make it welcome and give it a home. That is why just as routinely, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer traipse down to the City to chomp at their trough and drink their claret, as a sign of continuing approval for the City and it's criminal excesses. Bit hard to get too heavy with the financial institutions when you have eaten their meat and drunk of their wine!

No, the people for whom I write are those who regularly send me their thanks for coming out and saying what I do. It's for those who have been ripped off and screwed over by the banks and who know the truth of what it means to try and get any help from the so-called institutions who are supposed to be there to help the ordinary investor, and who send me their stories and give me every encouragement.

So, I thought I would finish 2012 by reviewing the year and looking at some of the stories which have contributed to the rich pattern of crime which now marks out the London financial market, and the failures of those who are supposed to regulate it.

January saw the news of Fred Goodwin's lost Knighthood.

I wrote a piece entitled "...Fred the Shred - Victim of his own hubris! - The revenge of the pink wafer...'

If ever a man deserved to stand in the dock for his criminal recklessness, it was Fred the Shred. Here was a man with no great banking experience, who managed through an ad-mixture of greed, arrogance, over-weening confidence in his own dubious abilities and sheer recklessness, to bring RBS to its knees, thus requiring a tax-payer's bailout to keep it afloat.  Fred Goodwin became the leitmotif for the age of greed and arrogance that so marked out the era of bank failure that was to follow.

In February, we saw the lengths that major British Banks were prepared to go to  avoid paying Corporation Tax on their enormous profits. Barclays bank were clobbered by HMRC and denied the use of a tax-avoidance scheme they had dreamt up, and were forced to pay back over £500 million Corporation Tax left unpaid. The scam demonstrated how far these banks were prepared to go to minimise their responsibility to pay a fair share of legitimate tax, and in a piece entitled '   Liars, Damned Liars and City Bankers...' I castigated the banks for their shoddy ambitions.

'... Remember how much we are told the banking sector contributes to the tax take of this country? In 2011, our entire banking sector contributed only 7% of Corporation Tax receipts to H.M Treasury, yes that's right, the munificent amount of 7%...' 

March unveiled an amazing story first reported by the veteran reporter, Max Hastings on the Andrew Marr Show. In a blog entitled '...London - The Money Laundering Capital of the World...' I wrote;

'... On the Andrew Marr programme on 23rd March 2012, the writer Max Hastings reported a conversation he had had with a ' senior central banker' recently in which he had been told that today, London is considered to be the money laundering capital of the world. Max Hastings was commenting on the recent shooting of a Russian banker in London, but his piece was all the more relevant not only because Russia is now said to be controlled by a 'gangster culture', but because of his report of the large number of Russian, so-called businessmen (among the 200,000 or so Russians now living in the UK), who have moved to this country to carry on their criminal and tax evasive activities here. A lot of these people seem to carry their criminal baggage with them, but there appears to be an apparent disregard within Government for any concern that London may have become the leading business centre for the world's funny money...'

It was this piece that first alerted me to the likelihood that the present Government has got itself into a dangerous Faustian pact with the City, in which the Government is willing to turn a blind eye to the provenance of the money coming into London, on return for a slice of the economic pie, no questions asked. How else can you explain the level of dithering incompetence and sheer lack of will on the part of the FSA to do nothing about money laundering, a level of scandalous indifference to the criminal activity which has resulted in HSBC walking away from  money laundering charges in the USA with only fines. Albeit huge fines, but no-one has been prosecuted and that fact, in itself, is bordering on the verge of scandalously corrupt indifference.

In April, Sir Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England came out of his shell, and admitted that the root cause for the financial scandals lay firmly at the feet of the banks.

In a blog entitled,  'Bank of England Governor finally 'fesses up' I said; '...Now, Sir Mervyn King, Grand Panjandrum at the Bank of England, and someone who should have tried harder to make his voice heard at the salient time, has now come clean about the financial crisis, and he has laid the blame fairly and squarely on the banks for the recession. He stresses that it is now absolutely imperative that there is a separation of retail banking from 'risky investment banking', in order to make the economy safe...'

Ah well, that was then and now, in December, Vince Cable, who like King was all for breaking up the banks, has now been pressured to accept the new 'ring-fencing' concept. Considering none of it is booked to happen before 2019, and I don't think any of us should be holding our breath. But that's the thing with the City, when you've been in business for as long as the City has, a few years here or there make no difference at all.

In June the Libor scandal broke open. In a blog entitled '... "Methinks I am a prophet new inspired", I borrowed Shakespeare's words to demonstrate how the observations I had been making for some time about the FSA's unwillingness to take on criminal investigations, were being proved right.

 '... With the news this week, first of the wholesale rigging of the LIBOR market by Barclays and other British Banks, criminal activities which have been going on since at least 2005, quickly followed by the news of concerted fraud in the sale of interest rate swaps, the London financial market has plumbed new depths of depravity and outright dishonesty, and downright criminality.
Let us not beat about the bush, these activities are manifestly criminal and are dealt with perfectly adequately within section 2-4 of the Fraud Act 2006. It is disingenuous for the FSA to say that they are dealing with this matter civilly, because there is no specific criminality designed to deal with these facts. This is arrant nonsense and demonstrates the lamentable lack of personal courage and moral fibre that permeates the apparatchiks at the FSA..."

July saw the report on Barclays' part in the LIBOR scam, and also saw Barclays being fined for its part in other scams around the world. For the life of me, I cannot understand why no-one went to prison for their part in this panoply of criminal activity, but the fact is they didn't!

I wrote a blog entitled '... Why Barclays Bank needs to be completely reconstructed! I believed then, just as I believe now that Barclays bank is a criminal bank, run by organised criminals. and I believe it would have a serious problem trying to distinguish the clean money in its accounts from the criminal money it has co-mingled with the remainder. Nothing will persuade me that Barclays bank should be allowed to stay in business, and that its affairs should be taken over by a court-appointed administrator. We should treat Barclays in the same way we treated BCCI, and it should be dismantled.

Later in July, the truth about Standard Chartered Bank burst on the scene and I wrote a blog entitled '.. When you do business in New York, play by their rules. The message Standard Chartered failed to learn...!' Outraged by the proactive actions of a New York regulator in fining SCB for a series of criminal actions, the British financial establishment got on its high horse and started complaining about everything American., There is nothing so unnerving than the City of London and its apologists in one of their periodical episodes of self-pity! I wrote;

'...John Mann MP has even called for a formal inquiry based in the UK that would be “unbiased and fair” in the aftermath of US allegations against Standard Chartered.  

'...We don't want to whitewash any potential problems with UK banks but money laundering is not a British problem..,” said Mr Mann.

In a superb exhibition of downright ignorance in which he proves that he knows nothing about the laws he helps to oversee and was probably instrumental in introducing, Mann feels able to make statements of such crass stupidity. What does he think he means when he says ' laundering is not a British problem...' Wake up man and smell the coffee! You are clearly unaware that London is the money laundering capital of the world! He then goes on to prove even more ignorance, by saying;

'...American banks are doing the same and worse and there are numerous US banks involved in drugs cases in US courts...'

Oh, that's alright then, so that makes it all ok, right ? ...'

August saw us examining the revolving door at the top of the Establishment which exists to pick up those who have been forced to pay the price for failure. I wrote '....Why the revolving door for all the executive jobs means we will never get any real change at the top of the banking manure heap...'

In an angry final paragraph I stated what I still believe to be true,

"...But in order for the money-go-round to keep on producing the goods for the insiders, they have to keep a lid on the rotten edifice, so that no-one can really tell what is going on and that is where the revolving door comes in. And as long as the revolving door continues to turn, spinning out the good chaps with the safe pairs of hands to fill the important posts when they are most needed, then those on the inside track will always get the plum jobs and fill the juicy posts, secure in the knowledge that they will do the job they are called upon to perform which is to maintain the status quo, while all the rest of us can merely do is to lick our wounds, and wait humbly until it is our turn to get fucked over again!...'

September saw a blog entitled '... Why we should have absolutely no sympathy for bankers whatsoever, and why they should be bashed regularly...'

I had spoken at a City dinner and had been howled down by the bankers present, mostly Heads of Compliance and Money Laundering Control from most of the major banks. It struck me then as it strikes me now that we are simply not bashing the bastards hard enough and we must not be swayed from our purpose.

October saw a blog entitles 'Why the Americans must prosecute HSBC if they are proved to have committed more offences of corruption and money laundering..!' I really hoped that HSBC executives would be standing in the dock for their money laundering activities. but for some reason, every law enforcer shirked the job.

November saw the publication of a blog entitled 'Lies, damned lies, and written Parliamentary answers! How the Civil Service bamboozles the public with bullshit..!'

the FSA were smarting under allegations that they had not done enough to regulate HSBC, during its Mexican money laundering adventures and Lord Sassoon, a Treasury Minister had been trotted out to put a sticking plaster on the sore part of their anatomy. The Minister had said;

"...The Financial Services Authority is the regulator for financial institutions in the UK. HSBC's operations in Mexico are not incorporated or authorised in the UK and are, therefore, not under the FSA's supervisory jurisdiction. However, the FSA maintains regular dialogue with the other regulatory authorities in relation to their investigations into the HSBC Group..."

What Lord Sassoon failed to cover was how HSBC México, S. A. (the Bank or HSBC) is a subsidiary of Grupo Financiero HSBC, S. A. de C. V. (the Group), who owns 99.99% of its capital stock.  HSBC Latin America Holdings (UK) Limited (HSBC LAH) ( a London-based bank), currently owns 99.99% of the Group’s capital stock. 

A slight oversight which of course any Minister of the Crown is likely to make. Typical of the half-truths and bullshit which the Government habitually trots out.

Finally, December has seen its fair share of blogs, but the one I enjoyed most and which has attracted a huge following of readers was the blog entitled '..The City of London is a criminal sink – Understanding the ‘...Anomie of Affluence...’!

In this piece I set out to demonstrate how upper-class financial criminals are no different from their underclass counterparts, and why they carry out their criminal activities.

This piece has received over 2,500 hits from readers and it has clearly touched an important nerve in so many of them. What the piece demonstrates is that there is no difference in the criminal personality of the burglar or the insider dealer or the money launderer. They are all rotten crooks at heart, the only difference is that one gets prosecuted if he gets caught while the other gets paid out with tax payers' money, when the money runs out.

There is no reason why this state of affairs has to continue, we can all make a difference if we continue to bring our concerns to the attention of those who need to know, and that is why I keep writing these blogs.

I have been much heartened by your support over the course of this year, and it only remains for me to wish you all a very happy Christmas, and a continued banker bashing New Year.


simoncz said...

Merry Xmas and happy New Year to you, Rowan.
I hope you continue to write such interesting articles.
I think many people find it near impossible to get their heads around just how criminality exists in the City and the Establishment in general.
All the best to you.

Big Bill said...

Being unpopular with the City these days generally means your criticims are both correct and hitting home. If you weren't hurting them they'd be ignoring you. Keep up the good work!

AbogadoNZ said...

Keep up the good work Rowan. As it is clear the establishment is NOT going to take any action It may take a little longer but one day the damn will burst and that will rock the boat or interrupt daily life. The only way forward from here is to continue to name and shame. Every time a law is broken it is imperative to identify the person(s) involved and the laws broken. Eventually pride will play a part and one of us will get a writ for defamation. (Personally, I can't wait.)

Don't give up mate. I'll be over in the New Year as I am currently working on a computer project on terrorism and anti-money laundering! A strange twist of fate as the customers are - law firms.

Compliments of the season to you and yours. Ashley

cringing2 said...

Maintain the rage Rowan. People ARE starting to take notice. All the best for the silly season.

EMC2 said...

Have a great break Rowan, I'm quite looking forward to your 2013 efforts...

AJD said...

Veritas omnia vincit.

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