‘Two hundred and ninety million pounds – that’s how much Barclays has been fined for attempting to manipulate the Libor interest rate. That’s not much less than the estimated £300m cost of last year’s riots in London, and it may only be a small fraction of the total damage Barclays has caused. As Philip Aldrick noted yesterday, loans with a value of $10 trillion are indexed using Libor, while over-the-counter derivatives indexed to Euribor, the European Libor equivalent, total over $220 trillion.
But what is the most severe punishment that anyone will suffer for this massive, immense wrongdoing? Bob Diamond may lose his bonus; he may even be sacked. So too may a few Barclays executives. But no one will be imprisoned for this colossal abuse of the financial system. No one will pay in anything approaching a proportionate level to the damage done.’