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Old 04-26-2013, 09:44 AM  
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Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever

Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever
The Illuminati were amateurs. The second huge financial scandal of the year reveals the real international conspiracy: There's no price the big banks can't fix

By Matt Taibbi
April 25, 2013

Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world's largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything.

You may have heard of the Libor scandal, in which at least three – and perhaps as many as 16 – of the name-brand too-big-to-fail banks have been manipulating global interest rates, in the process messing around with the prices of upward of $500 trillion (that's trillion, with a "t") worth of financial instruments. When that sprawling con burst into public view last year, it was easily the biggest financial scandal in history – MIT professor Andrew Lo even said it "dwarfs by orders of magnitude any financial scam in the history of markets."

That was bad enough, but now Libor may have a twin brother. Word has leaked out that the London-based firm ICAP, the world's largest broker of interest-rate swaps, is being investigated by American authorities for behavior that sounds eerily reminiscent of the Libor mess. Regulators are looking into whether or not a small group of brokers at ICAP may have worked with up to 15 of the world's largest banks to manipulate ISDAfix, a benchmark number used around the world to calculate the prices of interest-rate swaps.

Interest-rate swaps are a tool used by big cities, major corporations and sovereign governments to manage their debt, and the scale of their use is almost unimaginably massive. It's about a $379 trillion market, meaning that any manipulation would affect a pile of assets about 100 times the size of the United States federal budget.

It should surprise no one that among the players implicated in this scheme to fix the prices of interest-rate swaps are the same megabanks – including Barclays, UBS, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and the Royal Bank of Scotland – that serve on the Libor panel that sets global interest rates. In fact, in recent years many of these banks have already paid multimillion-dollar settlements for anti-competitive manipulation of one form or another (in addition to Libor, some were caught up in an anti-competitive scheme, detailed in Rolling Stone last year, to rig municipal-debt service auctions). Though the jumble of financial acronyms sounds like gibberish to the layperson, the fact that there may now be price-fixing scandals involving both Libor and ISDAfix suggests a single, giant mushrooming conspiracy of collusion and price-fixing hovering under the ostensibly competitive veneer of Wall Street culture.

The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia

Why? Because Libor already affects the prices of interest-rate swaps, making this a manipulation-on-manipulation situation. If the allegations prove to be right, that will mean that swap customers have been paying for two different layers of price-fixing corruption. If you can imagine paying 20 bucks for a crappy PB&J because some evil cabal of agribusiness companies colluded to fix the prices of both peanuts and peanut butter, you come close to grasping the lunacy of financial markets where both interest rates and interest-rate swaps are being manipulated at the same time, often by the same banks.

"It's a double conspiracy," says an amazed Michael Greenberger, a former director of the trading and markets division at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and now a professor at the University of Maryland. "It's the height of criminality."

The bad news didn't stop with swaps and interest rates. In March, it also came out that two regulators – the CFTC here in the U.S. and the Madrid-based International Organization of Securities Commissions – were spurred by the Libor revelations to investigate the possibility of collusive manipulation of gold and silver prices. "Given the clubby manipulation efforts we saw in Libor benchmarks, I assume other benchmarks – many other benchmarks – are legit areas of inquiry," CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton said.

But the biggest shock came out of a federal courtroom at the end of March – though if you follow these matters closely, it may not have been so shocking at all – when a landmark class-action civil lawsuit against the banks for Libor-related offenses was dismissed. In that case, a federal judge accepted the banker-defendants' incredible argument: If cities and towns and other investors lost money because of Libor manipulation, that was their own fault for ever thinking the banks were competing in the first place.

"A farce," was one antitrust lawyer's response to the eyebrow-raising dismissal.

"Incredible," says Sylvia Sokol, an attorney for Constantine Cannon, a firm that specializes in antitrust cases.

All of these stories collectively pointed to the same thing: These banks, which already possess enormous power just by virtue of their financial holdings – in the United States, the top six banks, many of them the same names you see on the Libor and ISDAfix panels, own assets equivalent to 60 percent of the nation's GDP – are beginning to realize the awesome possibilities for increased profit and political might that would come with colluding instead of competing. Moreover, it's increasingly clear that both the criminal justice system and the civil courts may be impotent to stop them, even when they do get caught working together to game the system.

If true, that would leave us living in an era of undisguised, real-world conspiracy, in which the prices of currencies, commodities like gold and silver, even interest rates and the value of money itself, can be and may already have been dictated from above. And those who are doing it can get away with it. Forget the Illuminati – this is the real thing, and it's no secret. You can stare right at it, anytime you want.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics...#ixzz2RaJQXsAx
More at the link.
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:32 AM   #61
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Technically she's pretty correct.

The markets are not rigged. HFT is not pushing prices around too much. They pick up pennies in front of large orders.

Felix's column was right in the sense that retail investors' orders never get close to the exchanges. So technically they aren't being fleeced there.

Retail investors are getting fleeced on their mutual fund holdings though, as HFT leads to worse fills for institutional investors (like mutual funds).
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:51 AM   #62
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Banks Sued on Claims of Fixing Price of Gold
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Frustrated traders and offbeat activists have complained for years in whispers and in online screeds that the price of gold has been subject to collusion. On Monday, these accusations of manipulation found a more august arena for expression: the federal courts.

At a 40-minute hearing, lawyers for more than 20 plaintiffs gathered in Federal District Court in Manhattan to coordinate their linked lawsuits against the five banks that make up what is known as the London gold fix. The suits, filed by hedge funds, private citizens and public investors like the Alaska Electrical Pension Fund, contend that the banks have used their privileged positions as market makers to rig the price of gold to their benefit.

The lawsuits — the first of which was filed in March — question the integrity of the gold fix, which dates to 1919, when a handful of bankers began to meet in the wood-paneled offices of N. M. Rothschild & Sons in London. The purpose of the fix is to set a benchmark price for gold, which is subsequently used by dealers, central banks and mining firms to buy and sell the precious metal and its various derivatives.

These days, the fix takes place by phone twice a day — at 10:30 a.m. London time and again at 3 p.m. — and generally lasts 10 minutes to an hour.

According to one of the suits, “The ‘great flaw’ of the gold fixing process is that the member banks trade on the information exchanged during the call to manipulate the price of gold and gold derivatives before publication of the gold fix to the wider market.”

Each of the banks — Barclays, Scotiabank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Société Générale — denied, or declined to comment, on the accusations of collusion, which — at least traditionally — have been dismissed as a conspiracy theory. Nonetheless, concerns that the gold fix may be rigged have escalated of late in part because of investigations into the setting of the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, and suspicions about manipulation of global foreign exchange rates.

“A lot of conspiracy theories have turned out to be conspiracy fact,” said Kevin Maher, a former gold trader from New York, who filed the first suit against the banks. (The case is Maher v. Bank of Nova Scotia, 14-cv-01459.) “We now know that Libor was manipulated and that a bad odor is coming out of the Forex market. So why not gold?”

Mr. Maher, who started trading gold in 1993, said he filed his suit reluctantly and only after he became convinced that official regulators were unwilling or unable to investigate the fix. “I didn’t feel like there was any oversight, either from the government or from self-regulating entities,” he said in an interview last month. “A lawsuit seemed to be the only means to rectify the problem.”

Over the last few weeks, so many plaintiffs have joined Mr. Maher with copycat complaints that a hearing was held to consolidate the cases and to appoint a lead lawyer. The fourth-floor courtroom was so full of lawyers that it took nearly 15 minutes for all of them to introduce themselves. “I want to do this in an organized way to figure out who’s who,” said Valerie E. Caproni, the presiding judge. “Not,” she added, “that I’ll remember.”

The lawsuits — and there are still more being filed — center on two main aspects of the gold fix: the fact that it is unregulated and that member banks can trade gold, and gold derivatives, during the call.

“The gold fix is by its very nature not transparent and therefore vulnerable to conspiratorial and manipulative behavior,” one of the suits maintains. The suit claims: “The lack of prohibition against trading during the calls allows defendants to gain an unfair trading advantage because pricing information exchanged during the calls provides them with insight into the immediate future direction of gold and gold derivative prices.”

As proof that collusion exists, the suits point to a handful of academic studies — some of them unpublished — that describe what one of the studies calls “significant spikes in trading volume during, but not after, the fixing period, when defendants are free to share information with each other and their clients.” Because the fix is private and not monitored, it enables its participants “to coordinate with their respective trading desks,” one suit said, and “to disseminate information” about the price of gold “while the process is occurring.”

The price-setting of gold has drawn some regulatory scrutiny, particularly in Britain and Germany.

The Financial Conduct Authority of Britain began looking at other benchmark rates, including for gold and silver, as part of its investigation into the rigging of Libor, a person briefed on the matter said.

The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority of Germany, or BaFin, has acknowledged that it is looking at the trading of precious metals as part of its inquiry into potential manipulation of the currency markets.

More than 20 traders have been suspended or fired as part of internal investigations into potential manipulation of currency markets. But no suspensions have emerged related to precious metals trading.

In the United States, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission routinely reviews the prices of commodities, but has not opened a formal investigation into gold, a person close to the agency said.

Deutsche Bank has announced that it will no longer participate in the fix as of May 13, though it still remains a defendant in the consolidated cases. Judge Caproni is considering whether to split the plaintiffs into two groups — one for those that trade physical gold and another for those that trade gold futures — but her decision will not come until at least the end of May.
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:54 AM   #63
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Chick-Fil-A says something homophobic: 800 posts

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The financial world is actually rigged against all of us: 26 posts

This is why we're all ****ed. Special-interests from both sides of the aisle, aided by a sensationalistic news media that has no interest in real stories, keep us distracted and at loggerheads with each other over bullshit, while they rob us blind.
I'm glad there's someone else who gets it
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:43 PM   #64
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I'm glad there's someone else who gets it
That IS most of the truth of the matter.

And as RaceCard points out... this group rounds up leftover "pennies" on deals, that group "technically" isn't fleecing investors... ugh.

I'll be the first to admit that the big money market might as well be Chinese arithmetic to me, when I invest its in tangibles... but the way I see it, and the way RaceCard explains it, its all just one giant scam designed to suit those who best know how to skirt the rules.

Damn man, is "whoever cheats best" really any kind of way to run a nation? The bank gets my checking account and that's it, until something changes, until then I need something in my possession.
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Old 05-06-2014, 06:54 PM   #65
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Damn man, is "whoever cheats best" really any kind of way to run a nation? The bank gets my checking account and that's it, until something changes, until then I need something in my possession.
you are losing doing that as well since the interest you get in your checking account is lower than inflation.

Essentially, holding onto your money can be just as useless if there are others who are actively devaluing it for their own interests (such as increasing the ability to export US made goods and products).
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:03 PM   #66
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you are losing doing that as well since the interest you get in your checking account is lower than inflation.

Essentially, holding onto your money can be just as useless if there are others who are actively devaluing it for their own interests (such as increasing the ability to export US made goods and products).
I'm buying gold and silver (mostly silver, I love it) from third parties, not Bill DeVanes joint... once in a while the prices are higher than what they should be, but I bank on this stuff going up and up, more and more people are scared to death of this banking ****house we've got going on, me among them.

The checking account is a pure minimalist function, just enough to keep it open... I don't trust our banks with, really, anything of mine.
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Old 05-06-2014, 10:08 PM   #67
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No, it's because everyone already knows that they are all crooked robbers. There's really nothing to argue about so the thread doesn't take off.
Bullshit. Look back 10 years ago here on CP. It's taken YEARS to wake you ****ers up.
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Old 05-07-2014, 07:42 AM   #68
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I'm buying gold and silver (mostly silver, I love it) from third parties, not Bill DeVanes joint... once in a while the prices are higher than what they should be, but I bank on this stuff going up and up, more and more people are scared to death of this banking ****house we've got going on, me among them.

The checking account is a pure minimalist function, just enough to keep it open... I don't trust our banks with, really, anything of mine.
So because you're not getting interest on your checking account, you're buying something that has physical storage costs and risks?

If you know the market is rigged, why don't you get in with the people are rigging it?
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:18 AM   #69
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If you know the market is rigged, why don't you get in with the people are rigging it?
ethics. I would rather work with those to short the thieves than become one.

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Old 05-07-2014, 08:26 AM   #70
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ethics. I would rather work with those to short the thieves than become one.
Trying to jump in front of a freight train to stop it is a bad idea.

That being said, despite problems with pockets of the market, the overwhelming majority of people involved in the markets aren't thieves. It's easy to avoid the areas that you disagree with.
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:49 AM   #71
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The RWNJ's hyper focus on penis and gay sexual activities is as sharp as ever.
You know what they say about people who are extremely homophobic.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:14 AM   #72
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Trying to jump in front of a freight train to stop it is a bad idea.
good point. specially a freight train with government backing.

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the overwhelming majority of people involved in the markets aren't thieves.
yes, they are the institutional investors and small time investor getting fleeced by the thieves.
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Old 05-20-2014, 04:36 PM   #73
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EU Commission charges HSBC, JPMorgan, Credit Agricole with rigging
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European Union antitrust regulators charged Europe's biggest bank HSBC, U.S. peer JPMorgan and France's Credit Agricole on Tuesday with rigging financial benchmarks linked to the euro, exposing them to potential fines.

The European Commission also said it would charge broker ICAP soon for suspected manipulation of the yen Libor financial benchmark.

U.S. and European regulators have so far handed down some $6 billion in fines to 10 banks and brokerages for rigging the London interbank offered rate (Libor) and its euro cousin Euribor while prosecutors have also charged 16 men with fraud-related offences.

"The Commission has concerns that the three banks may have taken part in a collusive scheme which aimed at distorting the normal course of pricing components for euro interest rate derivatives," the EU competition authority said.

The three banks and ICAP, which refused to settle the case in December, could face penalties of up to 10 percent of their global turnover if found guilty of breaching EU antitrust rules.
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Old 05-20-2014, 04:39 PM   #74
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Well, to be honest, the EU is corrupt too. Run by unelected technocrats, even if they might do a few honorable things.
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Old 05-23-2014, 02:51 PM   #75
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Barclays Fined For Manipulating Price Of Gold For A Decade; Sending "Bursts" Of Sell Orders

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The FCA said Barclays had failed to “adequately manage conflicts of interest between itself and its customers as well as systems and controls failings, in relation to the gold fixing” between 2004 and 2013.

The FCA said Mr Plunkett had manipulated the market by placing, withdrawing and re-placing a large sell order for between 40,000 oz and 60,000 oz of gold.

So for those who want the real people behind the real manipulation before they all scatter into the dust, we urge you to reread "From Rothschild To Koch Industries: Meet The People Who "Fix" The Price Of Gold." Because the gold manipulation rabbit hole goes far, far deeper than just one single, solitary trader...
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