Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Rolling Stone
Posted: April 30th, 2013
Conspiracy theorists of the world, ... we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The world is a rigged game. The world's largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything. You may have heard of the Libor scandal, in which ... perhaps as many as 16 ... banks have been manipulating global interest rates, in the process [manipulating] the prices of upward of $500 trillion ... worth of financial instruments. Now Libor may have a twin brother. Word has leaked out that the London-based firm ICAP, the world's largest broker of interest-rate swaps, is being investigated by American authorities for behavior that sounds eerily reminiscent of the Libor mess. Regulators are looking into whether or not a small group of brokers at ICAP may have worked with up to 15 of the world's largest banks to manipulate ISDAfix, a benchmark number used around the world to calculate the prices of interest-rate swaps. Interest-rate swaps are a tool used by big cities, major corporations and sovereign governments to manage their debt, and the scale of their use is almost unimaginably massive. [It's] a $379 trillion market, meaning that any manipulation would affect a pile of assets about 100 times the size of the United States federal budget. It should surprise no one that among the players implicated in this scheme to fix the prices of interest-rate swaps are the same megabanks including Barclays, UBS, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and the Royal Bank of Scotland that serve on the Libor panel that sets global interest rates.
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