John Ward – Exclusive : Libor Manipulation … – 1 July 2012


Former Conservative treasurer is Party’s biggest donor Michael Spencer

Could Michael Spencer NOT have been aware of LIBOR manipulation?

Talking to a close friend last night, we laid a bet on how long it would take to wind up the Banker pr machine in order to start salting the media ground with ‘don’t bash bankers’  bollocks. I said (from yesterday) 72 hours. He thought five days. Already this morning, he’s lost. I’ve counted five already, and as you might expect, the Torygraph has two of them. The first of these by Robert Watts is standard issue stuff, and not likely to increase the collar-temperature too much. But Iain Martin in his piece sums up the Westminster hypocrisy to a tee. As I blogged last week, when the political dimension of LIBOR starts leaking out, then we really shall see some fun and games.

And in other predictable developments: there will be an enquiry which the Tories think should be private, and the Ed Miller Band think should be public. Be careful what you wish for, Ed. Cameron has said Barclays has questions to answer. Osborne says it’s a disgrace. And the perpetrator is still in his job. In an otherwise very good piece, Ian Martin said LIBOR crooks ‘are only a tiny minority’. Ah yes, the tiny minority ploy again. The Wannsee headcases of 1942 were a  tiny minority of the Nazi Party too, so I’m told.

It’s also what I call the lone rotten-apple gunman approach to lying, one that – stage by risible stage – the Wapping Liars used. But there simply is no way that even a morally unguided missile like Diamond could’ve organised all this with a few mates. Let’s get real here: the interbank market operates through money brokers, who (in the highly unlikely eventuality that others didn’t know) surely knew that LIBOR did not reflect the actual rates at which banks were borrowing from each other. Didn’t they?

And this is where the invisible join between banks and Westminster starts. Because Britain’s largest money broker ICAP has, as its CEO, one Michael Spencer. Until 2010, Mr Spencer was Treasurer to the Conservative Party.

He is the Cash for Access charlie who had to stand down recently for selling intimate din-dins with Scameron to people who did not of course want any influence to result from this, ooooh nonononono: they just like Sam’s cooking. She does a very good goose, I’m told. He was also the chap heavily criticised in the City in February 2010 for selling £14.5 million worth of the company’s shares….just three short weeks before a profit warning that saw the share price fall by nearly 20%.

But there’s yet more: Spencer and his family are also majority shareholders in the private investment company IPGL, which has given £806,864 to the Conservative Party over the last five years. IPGL owns 18% of Icap, the FTSE-100 listed interdealer broker that Spencer founded and runs. In addition, Mr Spencer’s other company Intercapital Private Group donated £365,000, while BSN Capital Partners, a hedge fund that is an associate company of Icap, gave the Tories £170,000.

Making a grand total of £1.3 million. Oo-er.

If he didn’t spot that LIBOR was being manipulated, perhaps Mr Spencer would like to tell us (and his clients) why – he being one of the world’s largest LIBOR sector money brokers, an’ all.


While we’re down here, I thought I’d help with the fire inside Bankington by chucking a little more petrol on. Yesterday, my father-in-law had to decide which card to use on an expensive transaction using a small, very entrepreurial (and successful) service company. He toyed with using a corporate card, and was told, “That’s fine, but the bank’s surcharge for business users is 2%”. Or put another way, double what private individuals and favoured multinationals pay on a debit card phone transaction. In the current environment, HTF can they justify that – and what will Squeaky George-O do about it?

And here’s another Jerry-can from a regular Slogger….one of many I get regularly since the RBS piece of 24th June:

‘My wife retains an RBS issued Mastercard credit card, all that remains from our once having RBS accounts which we changed to the Midland. My wife travelled abroad recently and planned to buy me an iPad using the cash balance arising from a credit for the mis-selling of Card guaranty insurance (ironically enough). To do so she telephoned the card issuer RBS early in June specifying, as required, her exact travel itinerary.

On 15th June they debited her card for an amount of £546.80. On returning from her trip, there was a letter amongst her mail from RBS credit card services dated 6th June, enclosing a cheque for £546.80. So they sent an apology before the ‘accidental’ debit.

On or around the 21st June she bought the ipad, and the transaction was refused on her RBS card and the purchase had to be made using an alternative card. This could only have been premeditated removal of her money for their interest free use – equivalent to blatant fraud’.

Not ‘equivalent’ chum: it is blatant fraud. But it was obviously just another ‘glitch’ to keep RBS afloat.

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