Tuesday, 20 October 2009

How do banks run out of money?

An old truism long forgotten: banks don't fail without fraud.

In the S&L period this was remembered, although it didn't stop that Bush having it away with four hundred million dollars. This time around, although a large number of the world's leading finanacial institutions have now been nationalised having wasted all their money, no-one seems to suspect that the money has gone anywhere suspicious. Money lost, they say, not money stolen. But all money lost is money gained by someone else.

The Royal Bank of Scotland, for example, loaned several milliards (thousand millions) to a russian chap called Lebedev who now owns the Evening Standard. Not a penny was ever paid back, nor is it being sought through the courts now that the government owns the bank and the russian is a media mogul. That's how billionaires become billionaires and banks go bankrupt.

HBOS, another one gone into the custody of the state, http://www.ianfraser.org/?p=856#comments;, a single branch lost £250 million, not through incompetence but by forcing companies out of business, largely by lending them money then forcing them to pay fees to companies associated with the branch manager (and defence contractor EADS). The Reading branch, the manager of which, one Lynden Scourfield, evidently took suitcases of cash and the services of ladies of dubious repute from the managers of these companies, notably one David Mills, not the same Mills formerly married to Tessa Jowell, proprietor of a company called Quayside who billed themselves as "turnaround specialists" and were in receipt of forced payments from the clients of the bank. Payments were taken from the accounts of clients of the bank to pay off Quayside even when the law prohibited it. Companies were required to hire Quayside as a condition of their loans, and to appoint Quayside staff to their boards.

The biggest of these scams, draining the bank of over £100 million was a Manx luxury jet company, which had an approved overdraft of only £800,000. There were few if any paying customers and yet the company, pushed by Quayside, branched out into luxury yacht rentals. Similar, now I think about it, to Hilliard's enterprise Florida Air, a plane company with no legit business based in the Manx tax haven, home to various semi-private intel outfits, such as a company which prints money for third world countries. Literally, makes the bank notes. It went bust, having supposedly burned through over £100 million in less than a year and, at the end of it all, only a single jet could be seized to pay debts to the bank.

The yacht, you'll be glad to know, had been in Mister Mills' name all along and stayed very much in his hands. In fact, never had it a single paying customer for rental.

Certainly a lot of money was pissed away, but plenty went properly missing too. Other companies were driven out of business only for their assets to be bought at fire sale prices by the Quayside boys.

It's true as the late Postman Patel used to say that the banks had pissed their money away in dividend payments back when they were pretending to make profits, thereby dispersing their capital, but it's equally true that people inside the banks have been filling their boots for many a moon. The big government hand outs will only encourage them.

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