Welcome to Capital Account. UBS is expected to pay as much as 1.6 billion dollars to settle charges of Libor rigging with US, UK, and Swiss authorities, according to Bloomberg. The settlement is over alleged rigging of the yen Libor interest rate starting in 2007. However, unlike a majority of recent bank settlements where the banks neither admit to nor deny the allegations, the Japanese subsidiary of UBS will reportedly plead guilty to a criminal charge. In addition, about three dozen bankers and senior managers will reportedly be implicated in the alleged rigging. There have already been a few arrests, but not all the implicated bankers will face criminal or civil charges. The Financial Times reports that even with an admission of guilt, UBS will not lose its ability to conduct business in Japan. We talk to former Special Inspector General of TARP and author of “Bailout,” Neil Barofsky, about what an admission of guilt would mean for too big to fail banks.
Plus, prosecutors recently decided not to indict HSBC for money laundering, as government officials were reportedly concerned over the repercussions to the financial system. This according to the New York Times. Instead, last week HSBC announced it had agreed to pay 1.9 billion dollars in penalties. Our guest, Neil Barofsky, believes that there should have been criminal charges, and not just fines, for HSBC’s involvement with money laundering for drug cartels. We talk to Neil Barofsky about why we didn’t see a stronger response from authorities and what message this sends to other big banks.