RBS is the latest bank to have all its dirty laundry aired in the Libor scandal that rocked banks around the world this summer. This morning, the CFTC and England’s financial regulator, the FSA, both released a treasure trove of instant messages between employees involved with rate rigging.
That’s embarrassing, of course, but it’s also costly. According to the Wall Street Journal, the RBS will pay a $610 million fine for manipulating the interest rate.
A quick look into what was going on at the bank through the conversations RBS employees were having tells you how widespread rate fixing was. The conversations are unabashed, sometimes filthy, and a little appalling — no one knows how to get caught with their pants down like Wall Street.
We already caught one instant classic in the mix. One RBS trader compared himself to a “whore’s drawers.”
But there are a few more that show how much fun this Libor fixing club was having. One trader was simply amazed at how much money RBS was making. Another likened the rate fixers to a cartel all over London.
Instead of competing, the banks were cooperating with each other.
Not that the bank’s weren’t clear that they were setting rates to benefit themselves.
And the interdealer brokers, it seemed, kind of acted like diplomats between banks, finding how much each wanted and coming to an accord about how to make everyone happy.
Within banks, traders were promising Libor fixers goodies for acquiesing to their requests for manipulation. Some of the goodies were pretty solid — like steak.
Some goodies were just a joke.
And some were gross… yesterday’s SUSHI?!
These are probably going to sting for a while.