Yesterday the Department of Justice announced guilty pleas from Barclays, Citigroup, JPMorgan and the Royal Bank of Scotland for manipulating international currency markets. The banks also agreed to pay fines totaling $5.8 billion.

In order to rig the markets in their favor the banks formed a group known as “The Cartel” where traders from Citigroup, JPMorgan, UBS, RBS, and Barclays conspired to rig LIBOR and currency exchange rates. The Cartel’s reach was extensive and the group was able to shift global currency exchange and interest rates by acting in collusion through their respective financial institutions.

To join the group, which operated an exclusive chatroom to conspire on trades, a trader would go through a gang initiation process of sorts complete with a probationary period and a threat.

The trader, who was the main Euro trader for Barclays in 2011, made various arguments about how he “would add value” to the chatroom, according to the NYDFS. Ultimately, they let him join for a one-month trial, but allegedly with a pretty ominous warning:

[M]ess this up and sleep with one eye open at night.” Fortunately for that trader (but probably not so fortunately, in the end), he was allowed to stay in the group until it was dissolved in 2012.

Banksters truly play the part sometimes. The sleep with one eye open threat is just one of many quotes from traders rigging the market that display a criminal mindset.

The banks in question claim to have terminated all the traders involved in the Cartel though they offered little in the way of evidence to prove it. Of course, we could all just trust them to do the right thing. What could go wrong?

Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.


  1. Alice X
    May 21, 2015 at 12:03 pm
  2. bsbafflesbrains
    May 21, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    When do consumers whose loans were adjusted to the LIBOR get a refund? Who gets the fine money? I want to see the actual check before I believe these assholes actually pay up.

  3. Bluedot
    May 21, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Those traders should be in jail. And wouldn’t it be just great if the heads of those banks served a little time too. Jail has a way of making one sleep with one eye open if the threat is real and just maybe, not get involved with this shit. I noted last night that Morgan earned over twenty billion last year so this fine is not going to harm them much and the stock price hardly moved as a result of the fine. And the stock price is up a little today. So the market just shrugged and moved along. Wait isn’t that an Ayn Rand thing?

  4. Bluedot
    May 21, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Bernie Sanders says he wants to break up the big banks. If that threat was real, it too would have a bracing effect on these bastards. But we know no one paid any attention to it since the stock is moving along and just ignoring him.

  5. Alice X
    May 21, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    The London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) was the previous non-prosecution prosecution

    That was RIGGING the overnight rate the Banks charge each other.

    This non-prosecution prosecution was for FOREX.

    RIGGING international exchange rates. As Taibbi says below it is as big a deal as there is.

    But they rig everything. They say they didn’t really do it and they sure won’t do again.

    A few lower level scalps my fly.

    Then the cycle repeats.

  6. bsbafflesbrains
    May 21, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    So this is only being pursued because other Banks got screwed? If just the homeowner got screwed by paying higher rates would this case have been adjudicated at all? Many adjustable rates are tied to the LIBOR so if it was rigged to go up during the adjustment month wouldn’t that be a crime also?

  7. Alice X
    May 21, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    This was for the FOREX – everyone in the world got screwed a tiny little at a time.

    The LIBOR rigging – everyone with a credit line got screwed.

    Before that there was robo-signing where they falsified documents in foreclosures and committed fraud on the courts.

    Before that there was the Derivative and Morgage Backed Securities fraud that blew up the world economies.

    Before that there was the sub-prime mortgage fraud.

    Everyone has been screwed by these people but only a few low level types are in jail.

    Bernie Madoff is in jail but his mistake was swindling the fat cats.

    That is the only crime that will lead to a big fish fry.

  8. bsbafflesbrains
    May 21, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Thank you for taking the time it is like a scorecard for fraud by the best and the brightest our top business schools can produce.

  9. May 21, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Until a trader, big or small, goes to jail for this shit, the banks will just pay a few pennies on the dollar and deduct it from the obscene profits.

    Dodd-Frank was supposed to stop this shit? More like Fraud-Dank.

    Both parties are “whorely” owned subsidiaries of the Cartel. Obama doesn’t mind looking like Jamie and Lloyd’s personal hand puppet because the “left” barely manages a peep against this b/c Obama is their guy.

    Tweedledum and Tweedledummer in the United State of Oligarchy.

    Praise Jah Hillary will change things


  10. May 21, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    I have a better idea. Revoke their charter to conduct business. Isn’t there a 3 strikes your out law for We the Sheeple?

    Steal a little and they throw you in jail

    Steal a lot and they make you king

    -Bob Dylan, Sweetheart Like You

  11. May 21, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Dems fold on TPP Fast Track. Must be a Friday afternoon. May those assholes go the way of the Whigs in 2016

  12. mulp
    May 22, 2015 at 4:57 am

    Dodd-Frank is no time machine.

    If you want lots more investigators and lawyers to put people in jail, vote only for members of Congress committed to hike taxes, starting in the Republican primaries, running as a tax hikers for Republican nomination, so billions can be spend on more prosecutions and more Federal Courts and judges.

    It would also help to expand the 215 program to allow the SEC, FBI, et al to collect all phone records, internet traffic, of anyone dealing with banks, with super computers looking for illegal activities – just using an ATM is suspicious because it involves bankers.

    OR you could investigate yourself and deliver evidence to prosecute individuals and collect millions as a result which would qualify you for rewards. You will probably need to break the law, but with a good lawyer the sentence will be short enough and the reward large enough it will simply be like working at high income to be locked up.

  13. mulp
    May 22, 2015 at 4:58 am

    Yeah, punish all the people with savings and checking accounts…..

  14. mulp
    May 22, 2015 at 5:01 am

    Bernie Sander elected president would need to first stage a successful military coup and send half of Congress to gitmo.

    You clearly are not committing to voting in every damn election to put progressives in control of the ten thousand governments in the US, so conservatives who do vote in every damn election will be in control.

  15. mulp
    May 22, 2015 at 5:05 am

    Only those who travels internationally or buys imported goods or exports goods got nailed on this.

    As a progressive you obviously Buy Union and buy Made in America so you were not screwed.