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British Parliament investigating London’s financial center

Stephen Beard Jul 6, 2012
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Jeremey Hobson: Well the British Parliament has started investigating the ethics of London’s financial center. This follows that big scandal involving the British bank Barclays, which was fined a half billion dollars for rigging a key interest rate called LIBOR.

Marketplace’s Stephen Beard reports.


Stephen Beard: The LIBOR interest rate could not be more critical. It’s used as the basis for hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of financial transactions around the world. Regulators found that Barclays frequently lied when it fed its data into the LIBOR system. It did so both for profit, and to create a good impression during the financial crisis. More than a dozen other banks involved in the system are also now under investigation.

Stuart Fraser speaks for the City of London. He fears the scandal will further undermine trust in one of Britain’s most important industries: finance.

Stuart Fraser: This is very, very damaging on an international basis. And this is why we need to get this sorted out quickly. And to deal with it quickly — because if it’s allowed to fester, it will make more permanent damage to our reputation.

Analysts are quick to point out however that this may not have been exclusively British bad behavior. Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase were also involved in the LIBOR interest rate system. And the Barclays boss who’s now quit, Bob Diamond, is an American.

In London, I’m Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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