Sunday, December 20, 2015

‘Shoot to Kill’ – Let us dispense with this pejorative catchword once and for all.

David Cameron is said to be seeking clarity on the law of police shooting, following a national security council meeting at which police chiefs demanded greater political and legal backing for police officers required to carry firearms on duty for the purposes of providing protection to the public and themselves.

The Sunday Times today carries the banner headline “...Cameron: Let Police shoot to kill...”
Now I seriously doubt that David Cameron, rash though he can be at times, has really said those stupid words.  

Let us dispense, once and for all, with the completely mistaken notion that there is or has ever been a police ‘shoot to kill’ policy in this country .

The phrase ‘Shoot to Kill’ when used in the context of public order policing contains a host of pejorative connotations, more reminiscent of the bad old days in Northern Ireland during the deaths occasioned in a major breakdown of public order which set the Provisional IRA and soldiers of the Parachute regiment at each other’s throats in the housing projects of Londonderry in 1972, and which came to be known later as ‘Bloody Sunday’.    

What we do have is a ‘Shoot to Protect’ policy, although it has been previously described in 2005 as a ‘Shoot to kill to Protect’ policy.

Every police officer who is authorised to carry a firearm knows full well that the decision to pull the trigger, an action which may very well have the possible consequence of ending someone’s life, rests with the officer and the officer alone. He cannot be ordered to fire by anyone else.  

He is authorised to pull the trigger when he forms a reasonable and genuinely-held belief that opening fire is necessary to protect himself, another officer or a member of the public whose life is being immediately threatened. Because the speed of the need to make the decision in many circumstances is so rapid, officers are enabled to use the defence if later challenged as to the lawfulness of their actions, that they had ‘an honest and instinctive’ belief that opening fire was reasonable.   

But let us be absolutely clear about the potential outcomes of pulling the trigger of a modern powerful firearm in the hands of a trained marksman.

Someone is almost certainly going to die.

So when the officer pulls the trigger, he is doing so, intending to kill the person at whom his gun is aimed.

Our police do not shoot merely to wound, to disable, to ‘wing’, they are aiming at a part of the body which if hit by a modern high velocity ballistic round, will almost certainly engage with a vital organ, with concomitant fatal consequences.

This is why, when the subsequent investigation of the shooting is carried out, a major aspect of the enquiry is aimed at determining the lawfulness of the officer’s actions, because if his actions were not to be determined to be lawful at the moment he fired, then he would not be able to avail himself of the defence the law provides.

Public policy demands that we cannot prosecute every policeman who discharges a firearm as a result of which someone dies, so we have to be absolutely satisfied that in the vast preponderance of cases, police officers act lawfully, unless there is a significant body of evidence to prove differently.

So we have what is called a ‘rebuttable presumption’ of lawful conduct on the part of an armed police officer.

This is an awesomely high standard of responsibility and the officers who exercise these powers are selected accordingly and trained rigorously, so that they can discharge their duties to the highest standard.

Under normal circumstances, these checks and balances should be sufficient to ensure that we have the fairest system we can devise for the control and regulation of firearms officers.
However, two issues have now intervened in this discussion, which are making it far more complex.

The first is the actions of the Independent Police Complaints Commission in the way in which they are handling the present investigation into the shooting.

In their own information published on Twitter, the IPCC state the following;

“...On Sunday there was evidence to indicate that a potential criminal offence may have been committed by the officer in his use of lethal force. We therefore made the decision to begin a criminal homicide investigation.

This is not a decision we took lightly. Our decision followed careful consideration of the evidence available and whether that evidence met the legal requirement that meant a criminal investigation should be carried out.

This afternoon a firearms officer has been arrested and interviewed under caution. All the other significant firearms officers have provided detailed statements as is normal practice.

The evidence we have at this stage does not mean that the officer definitively committed a criminal act and nor does it mean he will necessarily be charged with a criminal offence.

Ultimately once we have gathered all the evidence and concluded the investigation I will make the decision whether to formally refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service – if that happens it will be for them to decide whether to bring charges and what they should be.

The investigation is only a matter of days old and the evidential picture is continuing to develop and just as we took the decision that the investigation should be criminal, further evidence could mean we reconsider that decision.

It may be thought that this is a highly unsatisfactory state of affairs at this very early stage of events. The use of the phrase ‘criminal homicide’ investigation is vague, and unhelpful. 

Homicide is a generic phrase designed to cover the loss of life of a person at the hand of another. It can be a criminal act, but it can also be a non-criminal act, it depends on all the facts and the circumstances. The overwhelming inference from the IPCC is that the officer acted unlawfully in the discharge of his weapon, which if committed maliciously, could possibly lead to a charge of murder. The alternative is that the firearm was discharged accidentally in the heat of the moment, which could possibly lead to other different charges being deployed.

The IPCC report refers to a ‘criminal homicide investigation’. Quite what this means in these circumstances is unclear, just as is the suggestion that the matter could just as easily be reconsidered if further evidence is forthcoming.

What it does mean is that a lot of uncertainty is likely to hang over this case and will not help to clarify the policy issues.

The second area of concern, and one which I lay firmly at the feet of BBC reporter Laura Keunssberg arises out of the disingenuous use of the phrase ‘shoot to kill’.

She first used it in an interview with Jeremy Corbyn on 16th November 2015, when discussing the Paris terrorist spectacle. Mr Corbyn was asked by the BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg whether he would be happy to order police or the military to shoot to kill if there was a similar attack on Britain's streets.

Mr Corbyn said: "I'm not happy with the shoot-to-kill policy in general - I think that is quite dangerous and I think can often can be counterproductive.

As a result of his thoughtful and considered answer, the press and members of his own party rounded on Mr Corbyn accusing him of being soft on terrorism, which culminated in his being accused of being a terrorist sympathiser by David Cameron, and threw the potential existence of a ‘shoot to kill’ policy into the public domain, where it had not previously existed.

Mr Corbyn was absolutely right and he was merely restating British public policy when he made his answer. The BBC later were forced to issue a clarification of the policy. 

“...The UK's police forces do not have a blanket "shoot-to-kill" policy - but at the same time, police can be legally justified in shooting even if the attacker ends up dead...”

I sincerely hope that this deliberately mis-stated nonsense about shoot to kill policies will now be abandoned, once and for all; that journalists will check their facts before looking for scandal headlines, and that the IPCC will handle the investigation into this event with a little more tact and professionalism than they have recently deployed in similar cases.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why we cannot trust the Tories on banking crime – They are complicit in its commission.

The Tory Party has just conspired to give their friends in the Banking sector a complete ‘Get out of Jail card free’ for life.

If we ever had any doubts that the Tories are the party of the bloated criminal plutocrats in the financial sector, we only have to look at the wording of an obscure section of a new banking law that was very quietly pushed through Parliament this week.

They have routinely failed to investigate any banking crime committed by the Organised banking mafias, and none of their senior money launderers have gripped the rail at the Old Bailey.

They have continued to allow billions of pounds worth of dirty foreign money to flood into the City of London without requiring any routine ‘Know Your Customer’ checks being undertaken.

Now, the Tories have very neatly sidelined what should have been a most effective  crackdown on fat-cat bank bosses who connive at reckless criminal tactics within their institutions, enabling them to pad their profits and increase their already obscenely inflated bonuses.

Labour and Lib Dem peers joined together to voice their fury after the move which was slipped almost silently into an obscure new banking law . The change is being moved in the small print of the 60-page Bank of England Bill and may still be challenged in the House of Lords.

The aim of the new law was to put the responsibility for proper control of banking systems and bank employees firmly on the shoulders of bank executives, thus making it their direct responsibility if later wrong-doing was uncovered in their institution.

It would have meant that prosecutors could have had little difficulty in deciding who was responsible for failing to prevent the crimes taking place.

The proposed new law said managers should be held to account for all rule-breaking by their employees - and they would only escape punishment if they proved they had done all they could to stop it.

You may recall the background to this new law, which was the evidence of massive criminality in the banking sector which was given to a Parliamentary Committee, but for which no employee or executive could be found to be liable for its commission.

As a result, the Tory Government, under David Cameron and George Osborne determined, to pass legislation which would remedy that lacuna in the law. There was much talk of concern, and being seen to be tough on the causes of financial crime. Cameron and Osborne needed to be seen to be standing tall and talking tough on City crime at that time, because the impacts of the policies of austerity were beginning to be felt very hard across the country.

But the law, passed by MPs in 2013, is now being repealed just weeks before it was due to come into force in March.

The City institutions and their weasel-worded PR agencies have been quietly lobbying Government, saying how unfair it would be if the burden of proof of innocence was forced on to the shoulders of those accused of the wrong-doing.

There has been a lot of blather talked about ‘natural justice’, The Bill of Rights, ‘Magna Carta’, and any number of other arguments that well-heeled City lawyers can be paid even more money to identify.

But none of it amounts to a row of beans.

The new law stated that managers should be held to account for all rule-breaking by their employees - and would only escape punishment if they proved they had done all they could to stop it.

In other words, instead of allowing senior bankers to wash their hands of all responsibility for the wrong-doing carried on by their employees, wrong-doing which was contributing in no small way to the bottom line of the bank’s profits, and thereby, to the bonuses of the directors, the law would have required them to prove what they did to ensure that wrong-doing could not be carried out.

You might not think that this was too onerous a requirement, after all, it is inherent in their role as directors, and is part of the fiduciary duties of care that they owe the bank and its shareholders as directors, so they would only have been required to prove what they should otherwise have been doing anyway.

But in the Alice in Wonderland world of the City of London and its banking class, such burdens were felt to be unfair to the overpaid Mafiosi who run our banks. It was argued this was requiring the bankers to prove their own innocence, a feature as many well-heeled and well-fatted QCs opined was contrary to English Common law.

Well, not really, since 1953, anyone found carrying an offensive weapon has been required to prove that he had it with him for a lawful purpose. But this law was designed to deal with oiks and yobs and the lower orders without the law, so no-one gave a toss that they were being required to prove their own innocence.

But when it comes to bankers and the untouchable protected species, different rules must be seen to apply.

So, Instead of bank bosses having to prove they did enough to stop rule-breaking, the regulators will now have to prove they did not.

That will shift the 'burden of proof' from bankers themselves to organisations like the Financial Conduct Authority, making it more expensive to pursue high-salaried bosses.
Lib Dem Baroness Kramer accused "outrageous" George Osborne of "buckling to pressure from his friends in the banks" - and warned it could allow bosses to turn a blind eye to another LIBOR rate-rigging scandal.

 "People are no longer talking about the banks so the Tories think they can go easy on them’ she said.

"The government claims the rule will make it hard to hire good people. They've obviously been in conversation with the banks to come up with statements like that."

Of course, why didn’t we think of that ourselves?. ‘Good people’ ie, previously experienced criminal bankers will know about the new law so may be wary of putting themselves in harm’s way.

Of course, keeping dodgy bankers out of the top jobs might be thought to be a very good thing, but again, not in the world of the City and Canary Wharf!

The Tories have clearly quickly forgotten their much vaunted promises about going after the guilty men and making sure that the City of London is a clean place to do business in.
Susan Kramer again;

"It is as if they have already forgotten about the 2008 crash, Libor fixing or any one of the other scandals that cost the taxpayer billions. 

"Senior managers in our banks should not be allowed to wash their hands of failings. Ignorance is not an excuse when our economy and British livelihoods are on the line."

This is the mendacioius Tory politicians all over, and Baroness Kramer is right, but sadly, her views will not carry much weight in the City or in the Carlton Club. The Tories know on which side of their bread to spread the butter, and that will only come from their friends in the financial sector who want to be able to bring as much dirty money into this country as possible, but without having to demonstrate any personal responsibility for its handling.

This is why I say that we cannot trust this Government to tell us the truth on their dealing with banking crime. They are making too much money out of its commission. Oh they will huff and puff when it is necessary so to do, and they will say all the right things to get their lickspittle friends in the media to write them good headlines when they need them, but then, when the hue and cry has died down, they will quietly renege on their public agreements and simply not carry out their agreed promises.

This is why I say they are complicit in the commission of banking crime. They know only too well what their shiny suited friends in the City are capable of doing, and by repealing important aspects of much trumpeted laws, even before they have been given a chance to work in practice, they are conspiring with the City Mafias to commit even more crime.

The usual Civil Service bromides have been trotted out to justify this appalling breach of faith.

A Treasury spokesman said: "The government has taken concerted action to improve conduct across the banking sector and deal with the abuses and unacceptable behaviour of the past.

"We've introduced the toughest rules on bankers’ pay of any major financial centre, and hardwired responsibility and accountability into the financial system, with those senior managers responsible for bringing down banks facing up to seven years in prison.
(Well, these rules have already been watered down to such an extent that they are illusory and will never be promulgated).

"We are extending the Senior Managers & Certification regime so that tough standards of personal responsibility and accountability apply beyond banking and across the entire financial services industry.

"This will ensure that all financial services firms in Britain operate to the highest standards."
And if you believe this pile of 24 carat tosh, you will believe anything!

George Osborne and David Cameron have just sent their banking friends the clearest message that it is ‘business as usual’. 

So fill your boots boys, because this government ain’t gonna come after you!

Friday, December 11, 2015

BBC - Stop smearing Jermy Corbyn!

The biased BBC are up to their usual tricks again, smearing Jeremy Corbyn. 

last night's news reported the conviction of 4 asian men for fraud on pensioners. 

Great play was made on the completely unmerited and unsubstantiated story that the money obtained was going to be used for supporting DAESH terrorist aims, although there was a subsequent admission that no charges had been brought or sought on any issues involving terrorist activities.

 At the end of the story, one defendant was alleged to be associated with Jeremy Corbyn, but no other detailed explanation was offered. This totally unjustified smear turned out to be that JC had written an MP's letter for the man (a constituent), confirming his residence in JC';s constituency, when the man was applying for bail. MPs do such things time and time again and there is nothing wrong in such an action, but theBBC sought to use the association as a terrorist-related smear on JC.

This morning on the Today programme, not exactly known for its fearlessly honest and fair reporting of Corbyn issues, Oxford educated Labour MP Emma Reynolds pontificated on the need for JC to dissasociate himself from a 'Stop the War' Coalition meeting tonight. 

This lightweight MP and ex-policy wonk, who has only been in the HoC since 2010, and who has never held down a proper job of real work in her life, used a lot of old smears about individual members of the Coalition to suggest that these are the sort of people with whom Labour should not be associated, and therefore, by default, JC should not attend the meeting. 

Ms Reynolds was one of those Labour MPs who voted for the bombing campaign in Syria, against the will of the Party, so her opposition to the Stop the War event is more about her personal opposition to JC as much as anything else. 

JC has been openly associated with the Stop the War Coalition since 2001, and only resigned ffrom an office there when he became Leader of the Labour Party. His alignment therefore is not exactly a secret. Quite what contribution Ms Reynolds' spiteful involvement made on the programme was very questionable, but it gave the BBC yet another opportunity to try and smear JC.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

BBC reporting - biased and crass

I'm sure I cannot be alone in thinking that the standard of reportage on the BBC is plumbing new depths of bias and crass insensitivity.

During the recent days, the reporting of Labour Party issues and particularly where they concern Jeremy Corbyn or John McDonnell has brought out the worst in the reporters, and in particular, Emily Maitliss, and Laura Kuenssberg of Newsnight, followed closely by Allegra Stratton.

The floods in Cumberland have brought out new lows in the maner of questioning and reporting.

One poor man on last night's news who had been completely flooded out for the second time was being questioned about his experience.

The reporter was leaning against the door frame in a casual manner, asking 'How do you feel'?

He could see the poor guy he was questioning was distraught, turning away to hide his tears.

The whole episode was so awful and insensitive, had I been the poor victim I would have punched the reporter on the nose and asked him how he felt.

The BBC clearly received a lot of critical calls, because by News at Ten, the piece had been taken down.

Another reporter was asking the occupants of a house who were having to stay upstairs because their ground floor was completely flooded.

'What's it like down there?' he asked.

Again, you could see the obvious distress on the faces of the occupants. I wonder how the reporter would have felt if the answer had been 'soaking wet you fucking idiot'! 

That's the problem, ordinary people are too polite when confronted with a camera and a microphone.

Get a grip BBC and smarten up your act. People's misfortune is not a scoop opportunity for your reptiles!

Tristram Hunt is the problem not the solution.

Tristram Hunt demonstrates the real reason why Labour lost the last election.

'Labour must turn back to its moral mission of tackling inequality' says Tristram Hunt MP. He calls for a discussion on social inequality.

This is precisely why Labour was beaten in the last election, too many people who might otherwise have voted Labour, had become sick, tired and disillusioned by the procession of political elites within the upper echelons of the party talking utter bollocks and using the language of socio-liberal wabble-babble, instead of saying what they mean! You couldn,t get a straight answer out of any of them. When it came to discussing policy, I don't know who was worse, Cameron or Miliband.

This self-opinionated academic sets his cap at opposing the man who was elected overwhelmingly to lead the Labour Party, and by whose words and actions, is attracting thousands of former disenfranchised, old but loyal, Labour voters back to the party and to the real fight for social justice.

You may not agree with me, but I doubt if Dr Hunt, on his own would have encouraged the Fire Brigades Union to re-align with the Labour Party again. Labour lost its political soul and its electoral strength, among other reasons, because many thousands of ordinary honourable Labour voters, decent men and women, nurses, teachers, former coal miners, ex-steel workers, care workers, etc, found themselves alienated by the tosh spouted by the policy wonk ellite that had risen to the top of the party under Blair and subsequently under Miliband. They were sick of the fact that when challenged about their commitment to social justice and commitment to Labour values, these tory-lite spokespersons, many of whom had never held down a proper job of work in their life, but had risen inexorably to the top of the New Labour elite, started to spout the weasel words of the need to work within the 'discipline of the market', or the Peter Mandelson oily outpourings, instead of standing up for what they believed in their hearts and their souls.

Jeremy Corbyn is returning the party to its strong working-class centre. He doesn't just talk the language of social justice and he doesn't talk about moral missions, without demonstrating exactly what he means in his actions as well as his words.

This is why men like Dr Hunt can not forgive him, because the man with the experience of representing working people has finally got the job that Hunt would have liked, except he didn't have the guts to stand for it.

We don't need any more fucking discussions on social inequality Tristram, we need action, and we need to be sticking it to the tories and their austerity programme. Austerity is another word desiged to mean the complete eradication of the Welfare State, let us have no illusions, and just talking about the class gap and inequality over Sherry and tapas in the college senior common room, ain't gonna cut it, professor!
Tristram Hunt will urge Labour to turn its focus back on inequality. Here he explains why colleagues should start talking about the class gap

Friday, November 27, 2015

Barclays Bank Money Laundering Breaches – The Financial Conduct Authority is as much a problem as a solution!

The Financial Conduct Authority says that Barclays bank ‘cut corners’ on financial crime checks and did not properly monitor a £1.9bn transaction carried out on behalf "politically exposed" ultra-rich clients.

Well, in the Alice in Wonderland World inhabited by the ‘Financial Complacency Administration’, they may very well think that this is what happened, and by such a finding, they identify themselves as being part of the bigger problem in the perpetuation of the criminal sink which is the City of London, and proving that they are frankly ‘captured’ by the very bank they are required to supervise and regulate.

By adopting this view, they manage to underplay the seriousness of the conduct engaged in by this Organised Criminal bank, relegating its effects to being little more than a series of understandable oversights.

This is not the case.

Barclays conduct has been the most deliberate and egregious exhibition of criminal behaviour, undertaken to make vast profits which they would not otherwise have made, and done to both play up to the sensibilities of a bunch of Middle Eastern clients, and to confuse and mislead anyone who had any reason to question the transactions.

It is of interest to note that tje FCA go to great lengths to state that there was no evidence that the monies involved were the proceeds of crime, and Barclays associate themselves with that statement.

That is not the point.

To wilfully breach the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 in the way that Barclays have done in this case is to commit a whole series of criminal offences and Barclays should have been prosecuted for this deliberate and shameful conduct. But guess what, yet again, one of the world’s leading criminal banks has been allowed to walk away Scot free.

How does this happen?

I mean it’s not as if the Money Laundering Reporting Officers and Compliance Officers in Barclays didn’t know the laws and the regulations pertaining to these matters.

The law on these issues is quite clear and unequivocal.

Failure to comply with the various legal obligations and responsibilities placed upon an individual and a business by the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 is enforced by a tough regime of penalties, well tough on paper!. These measures apply to all businesses caught by the regulations. Senior Managers and all relevant employees MUST be trained in the legal and regulatory responsibilities for money laundering and terrorist financing controls and measures. There is therefore an obligation on employees to comply with the regulations. 

It follows that businesses can leave themselves exposed to punitive measures by the actions of employees.

Under Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (MLR 2007) regulation 47 places obligations upon officers of a Company and Partners.. Any officer in a Company who consents to or is involved in committing offences under the Regulations, or where any such offence is due to any neglect on his part, they will be INDIVIDUALLY liable to prosecution for the offence as well as the body corporate. Failure of senior managers to comply with the MLR 2007 obligations may result in financial penalties or a prison term of up to two years and/or an unlimited fine. 

Barclays has been fined £72m for failing to properly carry out anti-money laundering and financial crime checks on a major transaction in 2012 on behalf of ultra rich clients. 

The supine Financial Conduct Authority said the bank did not carry out the appropriate customer due diligence checks to establish the purpose of the £1.88bn transaction, or to sufficiently corroborate the source of the funds from the clients who were said to be prominent people in public life. 

Regulation 5 of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 states;

Customer due diligence measures” means—

(a) identifying the customer and verifying the customer’s identity on the basis of documents, data or information obtained from a reliable and independent source;

(b )identifying, where there is a beneficial owner who is not the customer, the beneficial owner and taking adequate measures, on a risk-sensitive basis, to verify his identity so that the relevant person is satisfied that he knows who the beneficial owner is, including, in the case of a legal person, trust or similar legal arrangement, measures to understand the ownership and control structure of the person, trust or arrangement;

and (c) obtaining information on the purpose and intended nature of the business relationship.

In fact, Barclays applied a lower level of oversight than required for other business relationships of a much lower risk profile. 

The FCA said that the bank went to "unacceptable lengths" to accommodate the clients and did so because it "did not wish to inconvenience the clients". 

"Barclays agreed to keep details of the transaction strictly confidential, even within the firm, and agreed to indemnify the clients up to £37.7m in the event that it failed to comply with these confidentiality restrictions," the FCA said. 

This is the largest fine ever imposed by the FCA for failures to comply with anti-financial crime rules . 

In this case, the FCA said Barclays' clients were classed as politically exposed persons (PEPs) who should have been treated as higher-risk clients. So yet again, another series of regulations was ignored.

Instead, Barclays carried out even less oversight than it would have on much lower risk business. 

The regulator said that Barclays “...did not follow its standard procedures, preferring instead to take on the clients as quickly as possible and thereby generated £52.3m in revenue..."
Barclays wilfully ignored the regulations regarding the taking on of customers in order to facilitate the needs of some wealthy clients.
The billion-pound transaction was cloaked in secrecy with unusually tight confidentiality clauses, meaning few within the bank knew of its existence, or where to find the due diligence records, which were kept only in hard copy and not in the bank's IT systems.
Again, this was a breach of the record-keeping regulations.

The fine includes the £52.3m revenue that Barclay's made on the deal, plus an additional charge of £19.8m. The top-up was reduced by 30pc as the bank agreed to settle the case quickly. 

“Barclays ignored its own process designed to safeguard against the risk of financial crime and overlooked obvious red flags to win new business and generate significant revenue. This is wholly unacceptable," said FCA enforcement boss Mark Steward. 

“Firms will be held to account if they fail to minimise financial crime risks appropriately and for this reason the FCA has required Barclays to disgorge its revenue from the transaction.”
What makes matters worse is that today, 27th November 2015, I rang the FCA Press Office and asked why no prosecutions had been brought against Barclays for these wilful breaches of the Money Laundering Regulations.

I was told that no criminal offences had been identified. I pointed out the criminal breaches of the regulations. The beardless juvenile who was answering my questions also said that only civil regulatory breaches had been identified. When I pointed out that breaches of the regulations carried 2 years imprisonment, the boy on the other end of the phone seemed unaware of that fact. He then said that the FCA couldn’t prosecute for such offences anyway.

Finding that I was getting no sensible response from this representative of the Fantastically Cretinous Apathy, and rapidly losing the will to live, I rang off. If this is the standard of intelligence and knowledge inside the FCA, no wonder we are so badly served in our dealings with the crooks in the Square Mile. Wasn’t it Schiller who said; ‘Against stupidity, the very gods themselves rail in vain’!

Barclays bank went out of their way to deliberately and wilfully ignore every regulation designed to provide a first line of defence against dealing with the possible proceeds of financial crime. They ignored the law, tried to cover up the conduct, and went out of their way to behave as dishonestly as possible.

For these offences, their shareholders have lost £52.3 million.

Is it any wonder that we have one of the most criminally inclined commercial markets in the world. We have regulators who are not worth a spit, who adamantly refuse to make big examples of these criminal enterprises when they have the opportunity.

Is it because they haven’t got the bottle for the fight, or has the Treasury told them to soft-pedal on the banks right now.

I know where my money is being placed!