Banking StandardsWritten evidence from C. S. Harries

Introduction

My submission is a result of the direct experiences I have had with both Barclays Private Bank and Barclays PLC.

LIBOR

The world’s financial system teeters on the edge of a complete collapse due to a ‘vortex of unvarnished greed’. The rigging of Libor is an exemplar of this statement since it is both criminal and a conspiracy to defraud. It can be prosecuted under current laws and, in view of its systemic affects which have led to the biggest financial scandal the world has known, should be .( See my letter 14.1.13 to Mr Tyrie). Requesting information from Barclays Wealth in relation to the libor effects on our disastrous equity portfolio I was advised in writing by the bank as follows:

1. ‘The investigation uncovered very serious and completely unacceptable conduct by a relatively small number of people within Barclays’ .Untrue as evidenced by the list of names supplied to Guardian Care Homes

2. .. ‘it is important to note that Barclays current account, savings and credit card products were not linked to the Libor rate..’ This cannot be true.

Money Laundering HSBC

3. In 2003 the Sunday Times ran a two page article in respect of $54 million of Colombian drug money passing through Barclays Private Bank. This behaviour took place while during the period we were clients and was the subject of a Freedom of Information request I made to the FSA and subsequently the Information Commissioner. The decision by the Information Commissioner that I should receive the information was appealed by the FSA to the Information Tribunal who upheld their appeal—see Information Commissioner reference FS05147636 and Information Tribunal Appeal Reference EA/2008/0061. The FSA were represented by a senior QC and seven members of staff were present.

4. In view of the appalling revelations relating to HSBC’s money laundering (see my letter 21.12.13 to Mr Tyrie) I made a renewed request for this information recently and was advised that ‘overall, taking into account the above factors, we would consider that the need to protect the commercial interests of regulated firms, and Barclays Private Bank in particular, (my italics) outweighs the public interest in increasing the transparency of our processes’. This view is for obvious reasons unconscionable (not least because my sister in law died at 27 form a heroin overdose and my stepson from a drug related illness) and had the proper action be taken at the time and senior managers arrested and prosecuted as was the initial intention of the NCS then it is beyond doubt that HSBC bankers would have desisted in their criminal behaviour. It is clear that the only break on identified misfeasance would be prosecution leading to jail sentences if proven guilty. This is the only sanction that will focus minds of those inclined to perpetrate what they must know is criminal behaviour, deliver justice to those who have suffered and act as some sort of catharsis to those whose lives have been ruined.

HBOS

5. On the 12.11.2007 I queried via the Director of Savings the bank’s exposure to sub-prime losses. In a letter to me dated 16.11.2007 Ms Duggan writing from the Executive Office said inter alia ‘Firstly, the HBOS Group is one of the strongest financial institutions in the world. It has an exceptionally strong balance sheet and very significant capital recourses, and with overall deposits of £225 billion is the largest savings institution in the UK. Additionally, the Group is the largest player in new investment products in the UK. Our Tier 1 Ratio—the main capital measure in banking—is at 8% one of the strongest in both the UK and continental Europe. In addition HBOS has very strong credit ratings. Bank of Scotland plc, the Group’s UK banking entity has credit rating of Aa1 from Moodys, Aa from Standard and Poor’s and AA+ from Fitch’. One year later it was bankrupt so were these statements true at the date they were written or was I misled?

Conclusion

It would be desirable if those who were actually in the positions of authority at the time of these events were summoned before the commission. Refusal to do so would allow conclusions to be drawn.

It appears that existing, relevant laws and regulations have not been applied and thus there has been no deterrent to the activities detailed above. The system is now as a result so systemically corrupt that it is questionable whether it is possible to remedy that which has evolved over very many years. I have watched with disbelief much of the testimony before the Commission and the parade of unimpressive, delusional participants who then compound the horror of their involvement by failing to accept responsibility for the clearly identified misfeasance that took place during their tenure They should be prosecuted for breach of fiduciary duty and the obscene remuneration (which in many cases does not appear to require full time involvement) they extract from shareholders, who nominally own the organisation, be returned to those who own the company. Letters I have sent to the Chairman of the Commission over the last few months amplify these statements in greater depth.

I have been extremely impressed by the Commission’s forensic questioning of those testifying and would hope that the foregoing will be considered relevant and if so considered with the letters I have sent over the past few months to the Chairman.

9 February 2013

Prepared 19th June 2013