London steps up Islamic finance ambitions
regulators to settle charges related to the “London Whale” trading debacle. With the penalty, the bank is acknowledging that it violated banking rules by not properly overseeing its trading operations. In legal language, regulators said that the bank engaged in “unsafe and unsound practices.” As a result of those inadequate risk controls, a team of traders made a complex derivatives bet last year that ultimately generated about $6 billion in losses . Former JPMorgan trader Bruno Iksil, whose team is thought to be responsible for the bet, was nicknamed the “London Whale” due to the massive trading position, and the fact that he was based in London. But while two of Iksil’s collegues had criminal charges filed against them last month in Federal District Court in New York, Iksil, who is cooperating with authorities, has not been charged personally. The fine money will be split among regulators, with $300 million going to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, $200 million going to the Securities and Exchange Commission, $200 million to the Federal Reserve and $220 million to the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority. The money paid to regulators will likely all end up in the general coffers of the U.S. Treasury and U.K. Finance Ministry and will not increase or fund regulators’ budgets. The SEC does have the ability to use some of the fine money to compensate investors who can prove they were hurt by JPMorgan’s actions. But no such trading losses have yet been established. The money-losing trade was made with JPMorgan funds, not customers’ assets. None of the bank’s customers were hurt by the trading. Related: London Whale fine excessive and political The charges JP Morgan settled were civil, not criminal, and none of its current officers were penalized by the authorities.
Aiming to build on London’s status as a leading exporter of financial services, Britain hopes to step up the challenge to Islamic finance centres such as Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. “We want to be the leading (Islamic) finance sector outside of the Muslim world,” deputy mayor of London Edward Lister said in a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. Islamic finance follows religious principles such as bans on interest and gambling, and is playing an increasingly prominent role internationally as often oil and gas-rich investors from Islamic countries put more of their money to work overseas. Britain’s Islamic finance task force, established in March, is led by several ministers and industry figures as well as top executives from Gatehouse Bank and Oakstone Merchant Bank Ltd. It was launched ahead of London hosting the World Islamic Economic Forum in October and its mandate is to facilitate Islamic financial business, including investment in British infrastructure by Islamic sovereign wealth funds. The forum, which saw 28 billion ringgit ($8.6 billion) worth of deals inked last year, is being held outside an Islamic city for the first time. Islamic finance has already played a role in several major deals in London, with Qatari investors taking part in funding the city’s Shard tower, Harrod’s department store and the athletes’ village used for last year’s summer Olympics. A Malaysian consortium is also spearheading the redevelopment of London’s Battersea power station, after acquiring the site for 400 million pounds last year. Malaysia is the second largest investor in London’s real estate market behind the United States. “The task force has just started and its aim is to make it easier for banks in London to have Islamic products, which is still quite a new concept to any of them,” Lister said. “Only now people are beginning to understand what the products actually mean and how they comply … What you will see is a lot of companies introducing those products.” Maybank Islamic, an arm of Malaysia’s largest bank Malayan Banking Bhd, has launched a sterling-denominated and sharia-compliant mortgage product for high net-worth Malaysians looking to invest in London’s real estate market.
British police said Friday they have arrested eight men after a gang stole ??1.3 million (1.5 million euros, $2.09 million) from Barclays bank by taking control of a branch computer system.AFP/File LONDON (AFP) British police said Friday they have arrested eight men after a gang stole ??1.3 million (1.5 million euros, $2.09 million) from Barclays bank by taking control of a branch computer system. The men, aged between 24 and 47, were arrested on Thursday and Friday morning on allegations of conspiracy to steal from Barclays and conspiracy to defraud British banks. They are accused of a theft in April, when a man purporting to be an IT engineer arrived at a Barclays branch in north London saying he was there to fix the computers. He then attached a keyboard, video and mouse (KVM) device with a 3G router to one of the computers, according to a statement from the Metropolitan Police. Such devices are routinely used by people in business to work remotely on their office computer systems, but it allowed the gang to remotely transfer money into their bank accounts. “Those responsible for this offence are significant players within a sophisticated and determined organised criminal network, who used considerable technical abilities and traditional criminal know-how to infiltrate and exploit secure banking systems,” said Detective Inspector Mark Raymond of the Central e-Crime Unit. Barclays recovered “a significant amount” of the money stolen, police said, but the arrests are the first in the five-month investigation into the crime. Officers searched a number of addresses across London and Essex, east of the capital, and seized cash, jewellery, drugs, “thousands of credit cards” and personal data, the statement said. One central London premises searched was described by detectives as the “control” centre of the operation. Police foiled a similar plot against Santander last week, arresting 12 men accused to trying to take control of a computer in a branch in London’s financial district. Four men were later charged with conspiracy to steal.
Eight arrested over e-theft from Barclays in London
“What matters is not a particular project, but dealing with the problem. “All the developments in sustainable urban drainage, which are being looked at and developed and used in America, more work should be done on that.” Raw sewage pours into the Thames from London’s Victorian sewer system once a week on average. Thames Water argues that a tunnel is the best way to deal with this problem, which they are obliged to tackle under the EU urban wastewater treatment directive. Their proposal, the Thames Tideway Tunnel, would be almost as wide as three double decker buses, and almost half the cost of the London Olympics. Earlier this month the Planning Inspectorate opened a six-month investigation into whether the project should go ahead, but the final say lies with the government. Although ministers are not expected to take a decision until summer or autumn 2014, the government made clear in 2011 that the tunnel was its “preferred solution”. Byatt argues it should think again because the costs “seem disproportionate to the benefits available”. He also accused Thames of failing to maintain the existing network, with the intercepting sewers designed by the pioneering Victorian engineer Joseph Bazalgette running “dangerously close” to overflow. The amount of water leaking into the London sewer system was twice the industry average, he said. “Sewers are always leaky you expect a certain amount of infiltration [water leaking into the sewer] but the Thames rates are about double the rate you get in other companies. And that suggests although it needs further investigation that Thames haven’t been doing what they should have done to look after their network.” Earlier this month Ofwat accused Thames of “underspend” on sewer flooding, failing to invest in new sewage treatment and not maintaining its waste water network. Phil Stride, head of the Thames Tideway Tunnel at Thames Water, rejected the charge that the water company had failed to invest in the network.