Libor scandal investigation gets the right chairman, it needs to look at the right issues

July 02, 2012 6:02 PM

Earlier today I spoke to Al Jazeera about the scandal being exposed in the banking sector and, while trying to stop the earpiece falling out of my ear, told them that the critical thing was to establish how it might have affected the scale of the taxpayer bailout. Was more of our money put at risk bailing out banks like RBS and Lloyds Banking Group because of this manipulation of the critical Libor rate?

The Government have today announced two inquiries following the scandal. ITV have some details. The first will look into the culture, standards and practices of the banks, including whether criminal or other sanctions are needed. Andrew Tyrie, the respected chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, will take charge of that inquiry. He is the right man for the job. There will also be an inquiry into the setting of Libor headed by Martin Wheatley from the Financial Services Authority.

Hopefully one or both of those inquiries will look into how Libor rate-fixing affected the bank bailouts. Over the weekend, we supported Andrea Leadsom MP's call for that specific issue to be investigated, so taxpayers can know the extent to which their money was put at risk, directly or indirectly, thanks to this deeply unethical behaviour. That isn't all though. We also think that, as part of their programme looking how taxpayers' money was used to support the banking sector, the National Audit Office should investigate. They have a critical part to play establishing how  and why these liabilities were created.

Taxpayers still have billions at stake in the nationalised banks. That investment, made on their behalf by politicians, has so far lost a fortune. If all that was not just the result of a structural failure in the financial system, but the specific manipulation of a critical rate, then the public deserve to know.Earlier today I spoke to Al Jazeera about the scandal being exposed in the banking sector and, while trying to stop the earpiece falling out of my ear, told them that the critical thing was to establish how it might have affected the scale of the taxpayer bailout. Was more of our money put at risk bailing out banks like RBS and Lloyds Banking Group because of this manipulation of the critical Libor rate?

The Government have today announced two inquiries following the scandal. ITV have some details. The first will look into the culture, standards and practices of the banks, including whether criminal or other sanctions are needed. Andrew Tyrie, the respected chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, will take charge of that inquiry. He is the right man for the job. There will also be an inquiry into the setting of Libor headed by Martin Wheatley from the Financial Services Authority.

Hopefully one or both of those inquiries will look into how Libor rate-fixing affected the bank bailouts. Over the weekend, we supported Andrea Leadsom MP's call for that specific issue to be investigated, so taxpayers can know the extent to which their money was put at risk, directly or indirectly, thanks to this deeply unethical behaviour. That isn't all though. We also think that, as part of their programme looking how taxpayers' money was used to support the banking sector, the National Audit Office should investigate. They have a critical part to play establishing how  and why these liabilities were created.

Taxpayers still have billions at stake in the nationalised banks. That investment, made on their behalf by politicians, has so far lost a fortune. If all that was not just the result of a structural failure in the financial system, but the specific manipulation of a critical rate, then the public deserve to know.

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