A regulator too far? Icap chooses to stand and fight EU over Libor

 

Outlook Regulatory agencies: are you running short of funds? Why not skewer the banks and brokers involved in the Libor scandal? It's not as if it will take an awful lot of work. Just use what has already been completed by the authorities in Britain and the United States as a template. Then release the hounds!

Sure, the finance houses may snarl and bitch a bit. But who cares? The public hates them. With, it should be said, considerable justification.

So if you're involved in the European Union, what better way to curry a bit of favour with the Eurosceptic hordes at your gates than by hitting their favourite target that isn't you?

At least, that's one way of reading Europe's move into a territory previously dominated by financial watchdogs from member states.

Yesterday the broker Icap was added to a growing list of those in the crosshairs of its competition watchdogs for alleged involvement in a rate-fixing cartel.

There are two distinct groups among those involved in this case. Those who have chosen to "assume the position" include Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank, Société Générale, Citibank, the broker RP Martin and JP Morgan, which has accepted a fine for one market but is fighting charges related to another. (Barclays and UBS, of course, escaped penalties by playing the role of whistleblowers.) Some of this group have been fined by national regulators. Others are surely on the hit list.

But then there are those that have chosen to fight. In addition to JP Morgan they include HSBC and Crédit Agricole. And now Icap, run by the former Tory party treasurer Michael Spencer.

Icap is the first of those that have chosen to square off against Europe to have already accepted a penalty from national financial watchdogs, although that was small beer compared with what the banks have paid and, interestingly, the US side of the case didn't involve the Department of Justice.

As a smaller player in the scandal its decision to opt for a public scrap in Europe rather than quietly paying up is intriguing. We may now get to enjoy the spectacle of some of the City's dirty laundry being aired at a public hearing.

And perhaps Europe's dirty laundry too. It is, after all, something of a Johnny-come-lately to this affair and has relied upon competition law as its line of attack, rather than obvious breaches of regulatory rules. A very creative interpretation of that law, is what Icap and its peers may argue.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine