The investigation into the alleged manipulation of the LIBOR rates during the financial crisis of 2007/8, have unearthed additional evidence of what appears to be a series of insider dealing rings at some of the largest global investment banks.
A report in the Daily Telegraph of 29th August examines the background to these investigations, and refers to enquiries being undertaken in the US and in the EU, and has elicited a statement from one source close to the investigation that states; '...What seems far more certain is that some individuals will be facing prosecutions for more traditional market abuse...'
The report goes on to state that banks on both sides of the Atlantic are allegedly involved in the investigation including Barclays, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland, all of whom have revealed that they are part of the investigation.
If prosecutions do emerge from the insider dealing allegations, it is believed that they will commence in New York.
Such an investigation and prosecutions would be a very good thing, if for no other reason than they have a far better prospect of success in the US, and the consequent sentences imposed upon conviction will be more severe.
It has taken the US to lead the way to demonstrate to the rest of the international banking community that they must not assume that they are immune from prosecution, if they commit serious criminal offences.
For too long, selected areas of the banking sector have behaved with a cavalier disregard to the requirements of international criminal law, and for too long, respective Governments, including the UK, have allowed banks to continue to commit crimes as if they were uniquely immune from the laws which govern ordinary criminal behaviour.
Only by criminalizing these people and locking them up for a significant period of time, will the message get through that they are not the protected species so many of them consider themselves to be.
The Daily Telegraph report states quite openly that for the LIBOR prosecution to succeed, the authorities will have to prove that there was collusion at the highest level among banks. If this is the case, and there was a criminal conspiracy of such a kind, then these actions have to be construed within the organised crime continuum, because that is where they truly belong.
Only when Governments begin to realise that such crime, albeit committed in the banking suites, is as much 'organised crime' as any other example of the genre, will they begin to find other, more effective ways of dealing with these activities.