LIBOR Roundup: Fraud, Misrepresentation and New Directions in Civil Proceedings

30 03 2016

ICE Benchmark Administration, which took over LIBOR from the BBA in 2014, has published a roadmap for LIBOR and banks will no longer be able to manipulate the interbank rate once a new system comes into place this summer connecting the IBA’s computers to banks’ trading systems. “We built new systems to do the surveillance which run about 4m calculations every day, looking for collusion, or aberrant behaviour, or possible manipulation,” explained the IBA’s president Finbarr Hutcheson. He expressed confidence that traders will no longer be able to lie to improve their trading positions and said that anomalies would be investigated and reported to the FCA. The banks have paid billions in fines in relation to the benchmark’s manipulation. The Wheatley Review 2012 engineered and guided LIBOR’s transformation because the distorted benchmark, underpinning more than US$350 trillion in outstanding contracts, was “not fit for purpose”. But of course, the review’s author Martin Wheatley was ousted from office because of his overt aggressiveness, or his “shoot first” and “ask questions later” policy for bad banks. Under IBA oversight, daily LIBOR rates will be rooted in market transactions “to the greatest possible extent” by using a “waterfall” system devised to begin with transactions but relies on human input in circumstances when trading volumes decline.

IBA is extremely confident that the move will bring rectitude to the scandal ridden financial sector. Hutcheson said that coupled with the earlier changes, the roadmap will ultimately make LIBOR “one of the world’s most trusted, scrutinised and robust financial benchmarks.” Insofar as benchmark rigging from the old days is concerned, after the settlement (2014) in the series of reported judgments in the Graiseley Properties case, new claims have been brought and a series of fresh judgments were published in litigation arising out of disputes between the Property Alliance Group – a property developer with a portfolio worth about £200 million – and the Royal Bank of Scotland. RBS has been in the spotlight recently because of the fact that it has failed to generate profit for eight successive years and that its losses since the global financial crisis 2008 have exceeded £50 billion which is more than the £45 billion of taxpayers’ money used to bail out the ailing institution. Read the rest of this entry »





The Privilege Judgment

8 02 2013

R (on the application of Prudential plc and another) (Appellants) v Special Commissioner of Income Tax and another (Respondents) [2013] UKSC 1

The Supreme Court has spoken on the thorny issue of legal advice privilege (or “LAP”). In sum, the relationship between lawyer and client is sacrosanct and, at least on the initiative of the Court, the ambit of LAP is not extendable to another species of legal advisor. In the provision of legal advice, LAP protects the communications between client and lawyer (acting in a professional capacity). Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury PSC, Lord Hope of Craighead DPSC, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Lord Mance and Lord Reed JJSC so held by delivering concurring judgments. But the affair was not without disagreement and Lord Clarke and Lord Sumption JJSC have produced their own dissenting judgments.

In the controversial ruling the Court said that even in circumstances where legal advice was imparted by a person who was a qualified person, LAP’s scope would not be extended to communications in connection with advice given by professional people – such as chartered accountants – other than members of the legal profession. It was a really great hearing to watch live online; despite Lord Pannick QC’s valiant efforts, he could not sway the Supreme Court to reverse Mummery, Lloyd and Stanley Burnton LJJ’s judgment [2010] EWCA Civ 1094 in the Court of Appeal when it heard the matter on appeal from Charles J [2009] EWHC 2494 (Admin) who had, of course, dismissed the claim for judicial review before him. Read the rest of this entry »





Legal Professional Privilege and Article 8: Prudential Case Live in UK Supreme Court: 5 November – 7 November 2012

31 10 2012

Ever since its doors opened for business in October 2009, the UK Supreme Court has ruled on numerous cases related to article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. But the instant case is unique. In contrast to the family and private life limbs of article 8, R (on the application of Prudential plc and another) (Appellants) v Special Commissioner of Income Tax and another (Respondents) UKSC 2010/0215 turns on tax, accountancy, the legal profession and the right to respect for correspondence. Lords Neuberger, Hope, Walker, Mance, Clarke, Sumption and Reed JJSC will hear the matter from 5 November until 7 November 2012 (sittings commence on 11:00 AM Monday and 10:30 AM Tuesday – Thursday, Lunch Recess 1:00 – 2:00 PM,  Greenwich Mean Time). Please watch these proceedings live ONLINE HERE. The issue before the court is whether, at common law, legal professional privilege (“LPP”) applies to communications between a client and an accountant seeking and giving legal advice on tax law.

Crucially, LPP is an (almost) absolute rule. It not only entitles clients to refuse to disclose documents or answer questions, but also requires advisers and others to do the same. Hence LPP, which traces its roots to the sixteenth century, creates a real conflict with general public policy that cases should be decided by reference to all available relevant evidence. From Prudential’s perspective the Human Rights Act 1998, applying the ECHR, protects LPP and requires any limitation on LPP to be justified.

Because of the important nature of the case, the Law Society, the General Council of the Bar and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales are intervening in the matter as are the Association Internationale pour la Protection de la Propriété Intellectuelle UK Group and the Legal Services Board. Read the rest of this entry »