Some people are convinced that it worked to the detriment of some class of society…how can you possibly prove that? A joke sentence. I accept that it would be good to jail a banker or 2…but please let us not fabricate justice in this stupid way.True enough, it would be difficult, and more likely outright impossible, to establish direct net damages for the average person 'exposed' to LIBOR (as the media tell us we all are), arising from the riggers' games. That's because they were rigging to benefit their own specific book. Someone on the other side of that position would lose directly, of course - and others with the same specific exposure: but still others would by the same token be fortuitous beneficiaries. So - unlike (say) an oil producers' cartel rigging prices (upwards!) - the puzzle of net direct damages is intractable. It would, as Graeme rightly says, be ridiculous to assert that some category of our fellow citizens lost out systematically in terms of proximate losses.
But that's surely not the real point. It's the undermining of LIBOR itself as a credible index, of the price-discovery process, and ultimately of the City and UK finance as a whole. We know just who the systematic losers are in that awful business. It's all of us: because the forces hostile to these vital interests of ours are many and varied, and just waiting for us to trip. I wrote here ages ago when this was first breaking:
The integrity of the City's mysterious processes needs to be as secure as the hallmarks on our silver and gold - always accepted as totally trustworthy the world over, just as French hallmarks are taken with a pinch of salt ... the imperative of defending these freedoms and ways of doing business should rank alongside the physical defence of the realm."Too late!" do I hear you reply? Gotta start the fightback somewhere. When I were a lad ... coin-clipping and other forms of debasing the currency used to be high treason, with the usual grim penalties associated. They knew the seriousness of these things back then.