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From: The Socialist issue 954, 28 June 2017: Tories out - Corbyn in

Search site for keywords: Banks - Qatar - Capitalism - Finance - Nationalisation - Economy - Banking crisis - Bankers - Big business - Debt

Barclays finally charged for having their hands in the till

photo Gideon Bernarl/CC

photo Gideon Bernarl/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Neil Stonelake, Caerphilly Socialist Party

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.

Nevertheless, it all comes too little and too late. The SFO has always been the sort of watchdog that big business likes: slow and ponderous with very few teeth.

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.

Gordon Brown took action to save the banks in 2008-09. He nationalised the debt instead of the whole banks - and, we would add, missed out the commanding heights of the economy too.

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

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