Sigrún Davíðsdóttir's Icelog

King, Turner, Diamond et al – and the staggering lack of curiosity

with 10 comments

Imagine you were a central banker – or a bank manager – and then you read a series of articles in a leading newspaper about a remarkably audacious scheme of rigging the market, such as rigging the LIBOR rates. What do you do? Do you shrug your head – like ex-CEO of Barclays and just tell yourself this is what other banks do, not your own, so there is no need to ask around? Or, do you do like the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, and fasten your eyes on this little sentence “no indication of wrongdoing” – this tautological magical sentence all media attach to critical coverage to avoid being sued – and see no reason to ask these troubling questions? Also Lord Turner, chairman of the FSA, read the Wall Street Journal’s articles on LIBOR rigging in spring of 2008 and saw no reason to investigate the matter.

I’m not sure which of these two reactions is worse – thinking it’s the others or just take the statement of no wrong doing for granted – but I rather feel the Governor beats the CEO here. The Governor of the Bank of England felt he could rest assured there was no need to probe the question of rate rigging just because the WSJ assured its readers there was no evidence of any wrongdoing. Does the Governor blindly trust the media to tell him what is right and what is wrong?

Once the topic had come up, it kept popping up in various media and yet, neither the Governor nor the CEO nor the army of those who should have known – or at least asked – did know until June 27 when the US and UK regulators announced they were fining Barclays 290m for the rate rigging. Apparently more fines to follow, for various other banks.

If there isn’t some other explanation as to why this matter wasn’t investigated earlier, it certainly shows a staggering, if not downright scary lack of curiosity that once this subject was the topic of media coverage the leading lights in the financial world never saw a reason for asking around. Erasmus of Rotterdam wrote in praise of folly – I think curiosity is an under-rated virtue.

Follow me on Twitter for running updates.

Written by Sigrún Davídsdóttir

July 21st, 2012 at 12:03 am

Posted in Iceland

10 Responses to 'King, Turner, Diamond et al – and the staggering lack of curiosity'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'King, Turner, Diamond et al – and the staggering lack of curiosity'.

  1. “Staggering” is indeed the word, Sigrún.

    “Predictable” is also an appropriate word for these so-called “top” banking manipulators, who, on a scale of human decency, are actually at the bottom.


    22 Jul 12 at 4:11 am

  2. I wrote this comment as soon as I read this blog and I ‘m now writing it again!
    I wish you, Sigrun, could write in major press, The Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Mail, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times etc. as no one seems to be able to write things as they are, nor how we, the public concerned, see them, as well as you do.

    What you say is ‘staggering’ , as Wardropper says. It is staggering as it is TRUE. It is staggering because you write what is true, in a very concise, precise and yet human way and above all you ask the questions we are all asking and which the establishment would rather none of us asked.

    One can see the grip the establishments have on the press by noticing what the do not write, what they avoid and how they try to get the attention away from the real disasters which are happening to all who are not in the game of robbing, cheating, manipulating and ‘fixing’ , in order to Cover -up everything those in charge, failed to expose and want us not to understand nor question.

    Why bother talking about the mafia as being a bad element in society, when Governments, heads of top institutions, the Judiciary, the Police ,heads of finance, the media and press fail to look, fail to see, fail to speak up, fail to expose, fail to have the courage to stand up for what is right and expose at every opportunity what is wrong and each do their share to put a stop to it?
    We are seeing nothing but failures at the top, being rewarded for their failures and abuse, with titles, extraordinary bonuses and outrageous salaries. This is mostly linked to corruption and abuse of a corrupted system the Top Cat Club does not want to change.

    What are we seeing today at the top of our institutions, banks and governments, as well as some colluding judiciary, makes the mafia pale in comparison does it not?

    I believe arrogance devours the brain and I think if you look at the financial cess- pits of the world who hide behind a facade of ‘respectability’, you will see that arrogance and complacency has become KING and governor of these pits of the world!


    22 Jul 12 at 7:11 am

  3. >
    >Very well said Charles. I have been looking for an appropriate response, but for once in my life I think the following says it all. Wish I could also include the picture that goes with this.
    > Having already downed a few power drinks, she turns around, faces him, looks him straight in the eye and says, “Listen here, good looking… I screw anybody, anytime, anywhere, your place, my place, in the car, front door, back door, on the ground, standing up, sitting down, stark naked or with clothes on… It doesn’t matter to me. I just love it..!”
    > Eyes now wide with interest, he responds, “No kidding, I’m a banker as well.


    22 Jul 12 at 8:40 am

  4. Sigrún,
    As always you have your finger on the pulse. What is “staggering” is that again and again we have evidence of banks acting badly/dishonestly/criminally: The revelations just carry on and on. And again and again evidence that the FSA, Bank of England and the Treasury did nothing, and are still doing nothing. As you say, they weren’t even curious enough to ask.
    And these same people are still in their roles, blundering on.
    Why will no politician shout “A plague on all your houses” and thrown them all out? Now everybody knows that the Bank of England (King, Tucker, the lot) can in no way be allowed to take on more responsibility than they have already. What is the hold that these people have over the politicians? The photos must be staggering.
    The only conclusion is that the massive cover-up continues. What are the politicians so scared will be revealed?

    Tony Shearer

    22 Jul 12 at 10:14 am

  5. Carian, we thank you for your comment with the Banker joke as apart from it being hilarious, it is almost too close to the truth to be anything but the way we look at Bankers these days!

    ‘MISS COMMUNICATION’ should be read by all as it says it all!


    22 Jul 12 at 11:41 am

  6. Thanks for your input Charles, Carian and Tony.
    There are millions who think as we do – certainly a majority – but the majority has never been very good at standing up against corruption and wickedness.
    It’s all in the open now, and yet, as we have all noticed, it continues.
    Does it have to get even worse before a real representative of decent human beings gets enough votes to be able to stop it…?


    22 Jul 12 at 12:37 pm

  7. Well done once again Sigrun – as Charles and Tony say, you have again put your finger on it.

    Tony asks “Why will no politician shout …?”. I suspect he knows the answer – they are all (or most of them) in it together. Finance funds political parties and the lobbying power of the City of London is beyond belief:

    Earlier this month, John McDonnell MP tabled the following early day motion:
    “That this House congratulates the Bureau of Investigative Journalism for its thorough research in exposing the abuse of power by the City of London Corporation in using its public resources in a multi-million pound lobbying exercise to distort Government policies, in particular its tax regime, in the interests of the banks and finance houses that control the City Corporation through its undemocratic electoral system based on the business vote; and calls on the Government to instigate an urgent independent inquiry into the role and influence of the City Corporation with the aim of bringing forward proposals for its abolition.”
    How many other MPs do you think have signed up to it so far? Answer, just 15:

    Here are 3 petitions you may wish to sign up to:—public-inquiry


    22 Jul 12 at 5:43 pm

  8. This topic also relates to another of Sigruns – ie – and my comment posted there also I believe realtes quites happily with this topic ie

    I very much appreciate your open and honest assessments in all your blogs, I suppose the problem though is how to affect change in the mentality of those who have so called control and power within finances and its regulation, whichever country or crown dependency you wish to mention.
    There are bankers who do not bank, directors who do not direct, regulators who do not regulate, accountants who do not account, and governments who do not govern. And at the end of the day if something goes wrong, normally because of their greed, they use the phrase “it wasn’t me” or “it was because of circumstances beyond our control”.

    Most of this must come back to the individual and the fact that they need to take responsibility for their own actions, as happens in other fields ie engineering, aeronautics, architecture, etc. Until this happens then problems that you have covered in your various blog themes will continue.

    Tricky Dicky

    22 Jul 12 at 8:22 pm

  9. Most people  appear to feel firstly that the UK  hides behind a false facade of respectability .

    Many feel the people who are destined to be at the top end of society are programmed like robots throughout their schooling, to obey the voice of the Establishment, those with titles in particular and those in positions of power and influence, blindly.

    No questions asked also means no questions answered.

    This is a convenient way of keeping things under wraps and secrets serviced by those who seek titles, power and riches.

    British Bankers, British politicians and British judiciary with integrity will battle against corrupt cronyism, immense greed and abuse of power and position, as those in a high place mock social Responsibility and intellectual honesty.

    We can think rightly, I believe, that this is a particular phenomenon of the European Financial centers as in the USA, one would never be able to get away with what the European Financial Centers get away with.

    Iceland is the country which has tried to bring the greedy, dishonest often criminal to account.

    The USA is far more transparent than the opaque finance centers London and Luxembourg.

    We can see these 2 countries re-gaining the confidence in them as the world sees they try to fight the corruption which brought them to their knees.

    These 2 countries have NOT shown the arrogance cover-up-financial- crime-tacticts   Seen in Britain and Laundromat Luxembourg!

    Iceland and the USA are going up, as London and Luxembourg go down the moral and financial ladder.
    It is visible to the naked eye.


    26 Jul 12 at 1:10 pm

  10. […] going on in their institutions. And the world needs intellectually curious and plain curious central bankers and […]

Leave a Reply