Photo: spackletoe via flickr
Bloomberg was able to see some instant message conversations being used in Libor manipulation litigation in Singapore. You know what that means — Wall Street’s favourite — published instant messages.Bankers use instant messages to communicate at work all the time, and in more than one scandal those messages have been embarrassing for parties involved.
What’s interesting about these specific conversations, is that they show just how easy it was to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate, and how non-chalant bankers were about doing it.
Again, they did this all via subpoenable instant messages — but as Bloomberg discovered, it could also be a casual conversation on the trading floor. In this case, it’s RBS’s trading floor.
“We need to bump it way up high, highest among all if possible,” Tan, known by colleagues as “Jimmy,” wrote in an instant message to Danziger, according to a transcript made public by a Singapore court and reviewed by Bloomberg before being sealed by a judge at RBS’s request.
The trader typically would have swiveled in his chair, tapped White on the shoulder and relayed the request, people who worked on the trading floor said. Instead, as White was away that day, Danziger input the rate himself.
Here’s another polite conversation from RBS (From Bloomberg):
In an instant-message conversation on Dec. 3, 2007, Jezri Mohideen, then RBS’s head of yen products in Tokyo, instructed colleagues in the U.K. to lower the bank’s six-month Libor submission that day, according to a transcript of the discussion seen by Bloomberg.”We want lower Libors,” Mohideen said in the chat. “Let the money markets guys know.”
“Sure, I’m setting,” said Will Hall, a trader in London who set the rate that day in the absence of the rate-setter.
“Great, set it nice and low,” Mohideen said.
Hall agreed to set the rate at 1.01 per cent and followed through with the request, data compiled by Bloomberg show. No reason was given in the message as to why he wanted a lower bid.
Sounds easy as pie.