The World of High Finance, Mass Shootings, and Conspiracy Theories
“Unsolved Mysteries” was a prominent American television show. It’s still seen on late-night TV sandwiched between “infomercials” for the Pocket Fisherman and Popeil’s Automatic Peach Defuzzer.
If you’ve never seen the show, a brief recap may help explain the connection between Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate) and two mass shootings in America.
Robert Stack, Unsolved Mysteries’ host, would do a voice-over at the beginning of each episode. The commentary would usually go something like this:
“In California, a young wife parks her car and unloads groceries as her 4-year old daughter watches. Meanwhile, in the Canary Islands, a former-cyberhacker from Russia is enjoying the beach while a respected Manhattan attorney is ordering a bagel and coffee at Starbucks. Coincidence? You decide.”
Mr. Stack would then eat up an hour of air time as the show tried to create a conspiracy theory out of completely random and unconnected events.
Adam Lanza‘s, the Newtown, Connecticut school shooter, father is Peter Lanza. The senior Lanza is a Vice President and Tax Director at GE Financial.
The father of Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes is Robert Holmes, the lead scientist for FICO, the credit score company.
Both fathers were set to testify in front of the American Senate about the Libor scandal.
The odds of both Aurora and Newtown connected to one of the largest financial scandals historically is slim. The connection is leaving some to wonder where the shooters got their training. Others wonder if there was a subplot involved which permitted the young men to do what they did.
The links between the Aurora massacre and the one in Newtown could have deeper ramifications for individuals involved in the Libor scandal.
Meanwhile in Tokyo at Swiss bank UBS’ Japan office, Tom Hayes sat fascinated before a bank of computer screens. Hayes, who had gotten an early morning wake-up call from his boss, was told to get to the office. In New York, Lehman Brothers was blazing through money on its way to bankruptcy and Hayes watched the news and panicked.
Each market became bathed in red on Hayes’ monitors as the market opened and investors dumped their holdings. Hayes went into an almost unconscious state and began to mentally process the tsunami of information as he calculated the best escape route.
Before the early morning crisis, Hayes had been a prodigy at UBS. The growing financial crisis had been good to him, and the economic chaos allowed him to buy cheaply from investors wanting out. While most traders closed up shop in panic, Hayes, who thrived on risk, stayed in and was up over $70 million for the year and he was just 28-years old.
All of that was under threat, and Hayes clawed desperately to get himself out of every deal he had done with Lehman. While Hayes studied his trading book, one rate stood out more than another other: Libor.
For traders like Hayes, the Libor benchmark was the Holy Grail and 24-months before Hayes had discovered a way to game the system.
LIBOR is the average interest rate at which financial houses can borrow from each other. 16 international banks were implicated in the scandal which alleged contracts, worth trillions, were manipulated.
Powerhouse HSBC was fined almost $2 billion and watched as three low-level traders were arrested. American regulators, alongside regulators from the European Union, fined involved banks over $9 billion. Since 2015, law enforcement authorities have continued to bring criminal charges against individual traders and brokers for their part in artificially restructuring the rates.
What about Tom Hayes? He was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
In true Robert Stack fashion, one press release pointed to the dual mass shootings, the fathers’ testifying and Libor and said: “This coincidence is impossible to overlook. Two mass shootings connected to LIBOR.”