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Arguments for socialism :: Banking crisis
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After an investigation of six years, and over nine years following the events concerned, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has finally decided to bring charges against Barclays bank.
Four of its former senior managers face prosecution for serious breaches of financial regulations during the banking crisis of 2008.
The allegations centre on loans taken from Qatari investors - and subsequently hidden in the books. Apparently these were used to prop up the bank when it was threatened with part-nationalisation at the same time as Lloyds TSB and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The executives don't even think they have done anything wrong.
Readers of the Socialist will not be surprised to learn that senior officers in banking have acted in ways alleged to be systematically and blatantly corrupt. Any crackdown is to be welcomed, even at this late stage.
The fact is that even throwing some of the executives into prison would do no more than paper over the cracks in the fundamentally exploitative system of capitalism.
Now everybody owes as a result of the bankers' incompetence and greed.
What Barclays is alleged to have run is a money carousel. Capitalists in Qatar fund the banks to stay privately owned, while they get a return on their investment after the state has sorted out capitalism's latest mess at massive public expense.
And the whole affair probably wouldn't have come to light if Qatar hadn't blotted its copy book with the other petrodollar merchants.
Advocates of creating a 'national investment bank' without taking the other major finance institutions into public ownership should reflect on how easy Barclays' actions were to commit.
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Article dated 28 June 2017
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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