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Bank criminals sail away on their yachts

Over the next few days I will be involved in transferring some of the major IT infrastructure for my research centre from our Newcastle office to our Melbourne office. This is the first stage of our plan to virtualise our server capacity – reducing costs, making it easier to manage, and giving us more independence in our new multi-campus structure. Sounds like fun doesn’t it. Not! It also wasn’t much fun reading the documents published by the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the US Department of Justice last week concerning their investigations into the UBS LIBOR manipulation scandal. We read of widespread criminality and a total disregard for ethics and values. The authorities have, however, seen fit to go soft on the bank and will prosecute only a few it seems when many were involved. The point is that this is not the isolated act of a rogue trader or two. Criminality and greed is embedded in the culture of the financial sector and only major reform will get rid of it. That reform should start with the withdrawal of the license of USB to operate and then progressively the outlawing of the derivatives market and the scaling back of what banks can legally be involved in. Such major reform will not happen but until we get close to it the bad boys will continue to run loose.

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