This week’s numbers: $453 million; $800 trillion; $31 million; 20; 150
$453 million… is a chastened number. That’s how much Barclays agreed to pay U.S. and British regulators for manipulating LIBOR. If the mortgage settlement was any indication, they’ll make up that money in no time by manipulating LIBOR.
$800 trillion… is a mammoth number. That’s the total value of the loans and securities linked to LIBOR – over 10 times the combined GDP of every nation on Earth. With all that imaginary money, they couldn’t resist creating imaginary interest rates.
$31 million… is a sacrificial number. That’s how much in bonuses ex-Barclays CEO Bob Diamond gave up when he resigned. He still settled for $2 million and the knowledge that most people would confuse him with the head of JPMorgan anyway.
20… is a scandalized number. That’s how many big banks have been named in cases related to LIBOR so far. Maybe they figured there was no real harm if they all broke the law together, like drivers deciding they’d like to try out the wrong side of the road.
150… is a complex number. That’s how many LIBORs are published daily, including 10 different currencies and 15 different time-scales. Manipulating it must have seemed like the perfect crime: one only a very bored nerd could fully comprehend.