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The System Itself Is Corrupt:
The Case of LIBOR

July 2, 2012 (EIRNS)—This release was issued today by the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee.

Most cases of financial fraud are presented to the public as cases of individual crimes, committed by individuals or small groups of individuals—as corrupt acts by elements within an otherwise honorable system. But every once in a while as case comes along that blows that fiction out of the water and reveals that it is the system itself that is corrupt. Rather than rotten apples spoiling the barrel, a rotten barrel is spoiling the apples. The corruption comes from the top.

On June 27, British banking giant Barclays reached an agreement with U.S. and British banking regulators to pay at least $450 million in to resolve charges of manipulation of the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and the less significant European Inter-Bank Offered Rate (Euribor—to which the great majority of Spain's mortgages are tied, for example). Barclays will pay at least $200 billion to the CFTC, $160 million to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, and $92.8 million to Britain 's Financial Services Authority. Marcus Agius, the Rothschild in-law and former Lazard banker who chaired Barclays, resigned today. More heads will fall—Barclays is but the first bank to settle, out of more than 20 banks under investigation.

The LIBOR—controlled by the British Banking Association and the rate at which banks supposedly loan money to each other overnight—is effectively the imperial interest rate, used to set interest rates in transactions all over the world. It serves as a reference rate, with interest rates often quoted as "LIBOR plus a specified percent." LIBOR is used in calculating interest rates on a wide variety of loans—mortgages, credit card loans, student loans, government and corporate bonds—and in the derivatives markets. The Financial Times puts the level of contracts using LIBOR at $360 trillion, and that is probably far too low.

The big international banks make their money largely by skimming from financial flows. The more money that flows through them, the bigger their cut. And when they manipulate the interests rates in their favor, that cut increases. Huge profits can be made by small increases in the skim. To manipulate interest rates in this way requires all the major players to be part of the crime, from bankers to regulators to the so-called "people above suspicion" who steer the system from above. What the LIBOR case shows, then, is that the British Empire's monetary system is a global criminal enterprise, run from the top, which manipulates markets, and lies, cheats and steals from the peoples of the world.

Rather than simply fining individual banks, the U.S. Government should declare the whole system a criminal conspiracy under the RICO statute, and shut down every bank involved. These banks are worse than the mafia, and should closed, with the banking system being reorganized under Glass-Steagall to prevent such corruption in the future and to return banking to its proper role in serving the General Welfare.