Jeff Horwich: Today, the freshly resigned CEO of Barclays Bank goes before a parliamentary committee in London. Parliament is investigating the possible manipulation of interest rates by Barclays and other banks.
One developing angle today: whether the Bank of England might have prompted Barclays to undertake that manipulation. And here’s another: the volley of class action lawsuits headed not only at Barclays, but other banks as well — from our side of the Atlantic.
From London, here’s Marketplace’s Stephen Beard.
Stephen Beard: This has been called Barclays “BP moment,” the moment when the British oil giant faced a tidal wave of lawsuits over its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In the case of Barclays — and any other banks involved in the LIBOR rate rigging — the costs could be huge. There are tens of thousands of potential claimants. Anyone whose loan or investment was pegged to LIBOR could claim they lost out from the bank’s dishonesty.
William Butterfield is a U.S. lawyer. He told British TV that he’s representing the City of Baltimore and many other victims.
William Butterfield: There were other municipalities that were affected, other governmental agencies. There were insurance companies, there were corporations affected. There’s a pretty wide array of parties who were adversely affected by the manipulation of LIBOR rates.
Tens of billions of dollars could be at stake. U.S. banking expert Professor William Black says, the U.S. litigation could be the biggest thing in the history of anti-trust. He says “punitive damages awarded in the U.S. could bring down any British bank, because Americans are big enough players.”
In London, I’m Stephen Beard for Marketplace.
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