Barclay's scandal shows Banks= Failures, Liars and maybe Crooks
Those Barclay's secret payments to Qatar that Robert Peston was on about this morning ? They are closely related to the LIBOR scandal. Like LIBOR, they show Barclay's lied to cover up their failure. In brief: All British banks were about to be nationalised in 2008, because they were collapsing thanks to their rubbish investments. Barclay's managed to stay independent - but only it turns out, by lying. Firstly, they posted fake "LIBOR" figures to pretend they were in better health. Secondly, they managed to get an £8 billion investment from Qatar to stay afloat.
However, they secretly paid around £300 million TO the Qatari's to get £8 Billion FROM the Qatari's. They kept these payments-for-loans secret because they look shady and sleazy. They don't look like what a healthy bank would do to get a sensible investment. Barclay's may have to pay a £50 million fine to the Financial Conduct Authority just for keeping the payments secret. But they may also face more fines and prosecutions if the US Investigators (The SEC and Department of Justice) find out the payments-for-loans were actually bribes. The moral is : All the banks failed so badly they had to be nationalised. The only reason Barclay's were not nationalised is because they lied with LIBOR rates and lied about secret Middle Eastern Payments. So Banks = failures and liars. And maybe, Banks= failures, liars and crooks.
There is some more about Barclay's in this piece I had in the Morning Star in May (Especially the bit in italics)
Barclays' dodgy deals hit the headlinesMorning Star
Thursday 23 May 2013
Barclays' desert pal is Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz, seventh son of Saudi dictator King Abdullah.
The Financial Times has reported that Barclays hired the despot's lad to help with two problems.
First, in 2003, the bank lent £600 million to another sheikh's firm to build military bases in the kingdom. These were leased to the Saudi armed forces.
But the borrower, the Compound Lending Corporation, didn't pay its first £70m repayment.
Barclays reasoned that because a sheikh ran the corporation and the bases were leased to the army, the Saudi government would sort out the repayments.
But the kingdom shrugged its shoulders and ignored repayment demands even when Barclays took it to court.
Second, in 2008 Barclays needed a licence from the local regulator, the Saudi Capital Markets Authority (CMA), to keep doing business.
Barclays admits that it hired the son of the king to help out. It says he was "acting through his corporate entity, Al Obayya, to advise it on strategic issues in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as on its CMA licence application."
But it denies any wrongdoing.
But you can see why US authorities are investigating.
Paying the king's son for help with a licence from his government, or to sort out loan repayments on army bases, looks like paying for influence.
Barclays won't enjoy the focus on its Middle East business.
Because the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) back in Britain is also looking into the bank, investigating how it escaped the 2008 financial crisis with Middle Eastern help.
All the big banks in Britain went bust in 2008 and needed bailing out. We part-nationalised top banks such as RBS and Lloyds.
Barclays was the exception. It managed to avoid nationalisation thanks to a $12 billion (£8bn) investment from the royals of Qatar and Abu Dhabi.
But the bank paid out a whacking $300m (£200m) in "commissions, fees and expenses" to get this investment.
The deals were put together with the help of glamorous men and women.
Amanda Stavely, a former model and one-time girlfriend of Prince Andrew who is close to the rulers of Abu Dhabi, got £29m for helping put the deal together.
Roger Jenkins, an international financier and boyfriend of Elle MacPherson, got a big payout for helping arrange the Qatari side of the deal.
But the SFO is investigating to see if the deal was also lubricated with any illegitimate payments.
We know Barclays acted dishonestly in other ways to avoid being nationalised.
Barclays posted its fake Libor rates to give a false picture of economic health, avoiding a humiliating bailout.
So the SFO is looking to see whether making dishonest payments as well as publishing dishonest figures was part of the escape strategy.
This could be the gathering of a perfect storm for Barclays. The Saudi case may show Barclays made illegal backdoor payments to Middle Eastern royals to fix loans.
The SFO investigation may show that it made dubious payments to guarantee other loans.
Barclays' claim to have turned over a new leaf would be shown to be false - because it denies the charges.
Of course, sometimes what looks like a storm turns out to be nothing. The clouds gather, but disperse without thunder and lightning.
The investigations may show that the bank did nothing wrong.
The Barclays board must be praying it doesn't rain right now.