Open Secret: The Global Banking Conspiracy That Swindled Investors Out of Billions is the new book written by Erin Arvedlund.
The book goes behind the scenes of the elite firms that trafficked in LiBOR based products, including Barclays Capital, UBS, Rabobank, and Citigroup to show the negative impact they had on both ordinary investors and borrowers.
Here is Yahoo:
"LIBOR, the London Interbank Offered Rate, is a global benchmark for interest rates. It’s tied to everything from mortgage rates and student loan rates to complex financial derivatives. And guess what? For a very long time it was rigged.
Now, multiple lawsuits are pending, and that could mean some money back for some investors, traders and consumers.
LIBOR is set each day by a group of bankers, based on estimates of rates at which banks would expect to borrow money from each other. It’s a system built on trust, not math. Regulators were tipped off back in 2007 that banks were fixing rates, and by the summer of 2012, an ugly scandal was revealed. An estimated $300 trillion in financial securities worldwide are based on LIBOR."
“Gaming the LIBOR—that is, fixing the price of money—had become just
that: a game. Playing it was the price of admission to a club of men who
socialized together, skied in Europe courtesy of brokers and expense
accounts, and reaped million-dollar bonuses.”
In the midst of the financial crisis of 2008, rumors swirled that a sinister scandal was brewing deep in the heart of London. Some suspected that behind closed doors, a group of chummy young bankers had been cheating the system through interest rate machinations. But with most eyes focused on the crisis rippling through Wall Street and the rest of the world, the story remained an “open secret” among competitors.
Soon enough, the scandal became public and dozens of bankers and their bosses were caught red-handed. Several major banks and hedge funds were manipulating and misreporting their daily submission of the London Interbank Offered Rate, better known as the LIBOR. As the main interest rate that pulses through the banking community, the LIBOR was supposed to represent the average rate banks charge each other for loans, effectively setting short-term interest rates around the world for trillions of dollars in financial contracts.
But the LIBOR wasn’t an average; it was a combination of guesswork and outright lies told by scheming bankers who didn’t want to signal to the rest of the market that they were in trouble. The manipulation of the “world’s most important number” was even greater than many realized. The bankers kept things looking good for themselves and their pals while the financial crisis raged on.
Now Erin Arvedlund, the bestselling author of Too Good to Be True, reveals how this global network created and perpetuated a multiyear scam against the financial system. She uncovers how the corrupt practice of altering the key interest rate occurred through an unregulated and informal honor system, in which young masters of the universe played fast and loose, while their more seasoned bosses looked the other way (and would later escape much of the blame). It was a classic private understanding among a small group of competitors—you scratch my back today, I’ll scratch yours tomorrow.
Arvedlund takes us behind the scenes of elite firms like Barclays Capital, UBS, Rabobank, and Citigroup, and shows how they hurt ordinary investors—from students taking out loans to homeowners paying mortgages to cities like Philadelphia and Oakland. The cost to the victims: as much as $1 trillion. She also examines the laxity of prominent regulators and central bankers, and exposes the role of key figures.