Bollinger and 'big boy': Suspicious Barclays Libor email extracts revealed

 

Jamie Grierson
Wednesday 27 June 2012 18:18
Comments

Promises of Bollinger, coffees and affectionately dubbing a banker “big boy” are among a series of jaw-dropping emails uncovered as part of the FSA investigation into rate-manipulation at Barclays.

The City watchdog trawled through emails, instant messages and phone transcripts to uncover any underhand tactics used by traders and Barclays staff to influence the rate at which banks lend to each other.

The FSA said it was clear that Barclays took traders' requests into account when setting the so-called Libor rate, with one sample showing 70% of submissions consistent with the request made.

The contents of the communications were made available in the FSA's report and provide a shocking insight into the informal and casual exchanges made between traders and rate submitters.

In one request for a change to the Libor, a trader said: "Please feel free to say "no".

"Coffees will be coming your way either way, just to say thank you for your help in the past few weeks".

To which the Barclays submitter responded: "Done, for you big boy."

In a telephone conversation a trader complained to a manager that the Barclays employee was submitting "the highest Libor of anybody".

He added: "He's like, 'I think this is where it should be'. I'm like, 'Dude, you're killing us'."

The trader said that he had "begged" the submitter to put in a low rate and the submitter had said he would "see what I can do".

After one employee responded favourably to a trader's request to lower the Libor, the trader came back: "When I retire and write a book about this business your name will be written in golden letters."

An external trader emailed another trader at Barclays to state, "If it (Libor rate) comes in unchanged I'm a dead man".

The Barclays trader said he would "have a chat" and the submission was later lowered.

The external trader thanked the Barclays trader and added: "Dude. I owe you big time! Come over one day after work and I'm opening a bottle of Bollinger."

The FSA also highlighted suspicious extracts from instant messaging conversations with external traders, which included admissions such as "if you know how to keep a secret I'll bring you in on it" and "if you breathe a word of this I'm not telling you anything else".

And among other communications revealing the secretive nature of such moves, one trader said to another: "This is the way you pull off deals like this chicken, don't talk about it too much, two months of preparation... The trick is you must not do this alone...this is between you and me but really don't tell ANYBODY."

PA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in