Bob Costas: Welcome to the London Indicted Bank Olympics Report (LIBOR). I’m joined by Gillian Tett, veteran
banking reporter for the Financial Times. Gillian, set the stage for these banking Olympics.
Tett: As you know Bob, four years ago, the American financial sector stole the show by bringing down the global economy with record-breaking efforts in several prominent events – lying, cheating, fraud, theft, hypocrisy. Even as athletes competed in Beijing, Bear Stearns drowned in the deep end of debt, Citigroup slipped off its balance sheet, and American International Group found out what it was like to be a bubble in the area where the javelins land. Of course, Lehman Brothers’ collapse in September ’08 was of Olympian proportions all by itself.
Costas: And now, four years later, we gather in London for another Olympics of banker mischief.
Tett: London really is the key word, Bob. Of course, bank shenanigans continue throughout the year with multiple contests in fraud and so forth, but London has brought out some of the most impressive results. There’s London-based famed London Whale of J.P. Morgan. Banks prefer London, largely because the city is known for offering friendly officials who afford a wide berth to recklessness.
Costas: And these banking Olympics began spectacularly, didn’t they?