Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Bob Diamond has resigned, but he has not called for the re-establishment of the rule of law

Between 1973 and 2006, at least one million UK and Irish citizens are known to have signed an annual contract with 'Amway UK Ltd' in which they were arbitrarily defined as 'Independent Business Owners.' In reality, the hidden, overall rolling churn/insolvency rate for the so-called 'Amway MLM business/income opportunity' in Britain, was effectively 100%. It has been estimated that, over a period of 34 years, the gang of billionaire, US-based racketeers behind 'Amway UK Ltd.' unlawfully generated around $1billion dollars by peddling their constantly-churning UK adherents countless, effectively-valueless publications, recordings, tickets to meetings, etc., on the fraudulent pretext that these 'optional materials contained exclusive secrets vital to achieving success within Amway.'   

'Amway UK' propaganda 2007

Several years ago, I was given verbal assurances by officers of the Company Investigation Branch of the UK government's Ministry for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform that, privately, they fully-accepted that 'Amway' was the corporate-front for two vast inter-related frauds, and that once 'Amway UK Ltd.' was closed down in the interests of the public (using technical, civil insolvency procedures) a rigorous criminal inquiry into the scandal lurking behind 'Amway' would be conducted by the UK Serious Fraud Office.

Is plea bargaining a realistic option for UK justice?
Peter Kiernan

During the UK government's low-level civil investigation and prosecution of  'Amway UK Ltd.,' the counterfeit 'direct selling' company was temporarily-represented by none other than the former deputy director of the UK SFO, Mr. Peter Kiernan. He, and other well-paid lawyers working for the firm of Eversheds LLP, actually tried (but failed) to persuade UK government officials to drop their civil prosecution.

In 2008, the UK government's public interest civil bankruptcy petition was declined by a UK High Court Judge, Mr. Justice Norris (on the demonstrably specious grounds that 'Amway's' attorneys had offered assurances that  the company's officers had been completely unaware that some of the company's senior 'distributors' had been lying for decades about the actual results of 'MLM', but, all the same, they had expelled the guilty parties and voluntarily reformed all previously-unlawful practices). This dangerous decision was then upheld (on appeal) by 2 out of 3 Appeal Court Judges. After first accepting a large quantity of information, agents of the UK SFO then refused to conduct any criminal investigation of'MLM income opportunity' fraud in general and of 'Amway' in particular. However, due to bad publicity, the 'Amway' fraud has been effectively-halted in the UK. Its new main-feeding ground has become Asia. Currently (every 4 years), the 'Amway' fraud is churning around one million victims in India, where its apologists have claimed that the 'Amway MLM income opportunity' has been fully-investigated in the UK and given a clean bill of health by UK government regulators and by the UK courts.

In a series of stomach-churning events, strangely-reminiscent of those surrounding the UK authorities failure to investigate 'Amway UK Ltd', the 'Big Brother' of Barclays Bank, Bob Diamond, has now resigned. Predictably, he still steadfastly pretends moral and intellectual authority, but, no matter what reality-inverting script he recites, tellingly, it will not include a common-sense call for a rigorous, independent, criminal inquiry and the re-establishment of the rule of law in respect of all the 'Big Brothers' of the banking fraternity.
As most people already know, last week, regulators in the US and UK fined Barclays Bank more than $450 millions for its role in a conspiracy to rig 'Libor' and 'Euribor' (Libor is the variable key-interest-rate at which banks in London lend money to each other for the short-term in a particular currency. A new Libor rate is calculated each morning by financial data firm Thomson Reuters. It is based on interest rates provided by members of the British Bankers Association. Libor and Euribor directly affect the cost of hundreds of trillions of dollars of financial transactions internationally). 

Barclays' senior corporate officers (including Bob Diamond) have so-far admitted that a group of Barclays' traders lied for a number of years (prior to the current world economic crisis), in order to raise Libor and Euribor simply to make additional profits for Barclays and additional 'bonuses' for themselves, but then (when the economic crisis hit) these same traders lied to lower the key-inter-bank-borrowing-rates in order to hide Barclays' true position.
Whomsoever is investigating the Barclays scandal would do well to follow two well-known maxims:'Follow the money;' and: 'He who first cries out "Stop Thief!," is often he who has stolen the treasure.'For it would be far more accurate to say that common-sense, supported by quantifiable evidence, strongly-suggests that the bosses of Barclays created, and personally-profited-massively from, a systematic fraud designed to prevent, and/or divert, investigation and isolate them from liability. Self-evidently, it was the bosses of Barclays who placed their subordinates in a position where they were at liberty to manipulate Libor and Euribor, and who offered these subordinates inducements to do exactly that, whilst they turned a blind-eye. In the most simple terms, the likes of Bob Diamond received millions of dollars of 'bonuses' on profits generated by a form of theft, but Bob is now amongst the first to shout 'stop thief!' 

Prime Minister David Cameron, who yesterday launched an inquiry into banking standards, has described these events as 'a scandal'. The UK Serious Fraud Office is only now considering whether to bring criminal charges.

There are many outraged people asking how is it possible that years after this vast fraud was perpetrated, senior UK law enforcement agents are still scratching their heads, wondering whether they should bother to make an attempt to investigate it, let alone hold those who profited the most from it, to account?  
There are hundreds of lawyers who staff the UK SFO, but it is very difficult to know what they do all day long (other than fantasising about getting a much-more-highly-paid job in the private sector defending companies like 'Amway' and 'Barclays Bank' ). Perhaps, it might be a very good idea for them to read the Fraud Act 2006?

David Brear (copyright 2012)

No comments: