The 'Engineered Illusion' (Financial Smoke & Mirrors)
Between 1987 and 2015 I worked as a Foreign Exchange (FX) trader on the trading floors of many of the world's largest banks including Chemical Bank, Lehman Brothers, Natwest, Nationsbank, Swiss Bank Corp (SBC), UBS (Twice - 1996-1999 and 2010-2012), Chase Manhattan before my career within the banking industry ended at Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) in 2015.
At UBS in 2011 and 2012, and between 2012-2014 at LBG, I was forced to 'Blow the whistle' on multiple occasions. More on what happened in both of those cases another time and in other articles.
Upon leaving LBG it was evident that 'blacklisting' was very much alive within the industry. An industry don't forget that swears blind that it has a 'zero tolerance' for wrongdoing, swears its undying allegiance and love for employees that blow the whistle and speak up, and that is 'regulated' by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that echoes the same sentiments.
If all of the above are true then I, and all other whistleblowers, should be at the top of any recruitment list by banks, firms and regulators. Yeah, not so much.
Indeed, not only is the opposite true and 'blacklisting' is rife, clear and evident, but that a far more sinister reality also exists; The Smearing and discrediting of whistleblowers, and not only by the banks and firms. I have evidence to prove that The FCA, including Andrew Bailey's office when he was CEO, has also been responsible for the conception and circulation of false and defamatory representations and smears, both internally throughout The FCA and to journalists, parliamentarians and law enforcement agencies.
More on this another time and in other articles.
So, what was I going to do now after leaving the industry?
More by luck than judgement I stumbled into a field that I broadly call "Litigation Support Services", and began to fully appreciate just how little the world outside of banking and financial markets really understands about what goes on inside the world of banking and financial markets.
What also became clear is that this was due to a variety of reasons all of which was contributing to an "Engineered Illusion", that for the most part contradicted the reality that I knew and had lived for more than a quarter of a century.
However, perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this is the extent to which it became crystal clear the role that regulators, law enforcement agencies and, to varying extent, Government and Government agencies/departments had played in the engineering of this illusion.
Indeed, the recent "Lowball Tapes" series by Andy Verity of the BBC, raises serious concerns as to the role of the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) and the judiciary might have played in prosecutions that the Lowball Tapes now expose as dishonest, a perversion of the course of justice, and an extension of the 'Engineered Illusion'.
(If you have not listened to Andy' series, then you must. Five episodes each just fifteen minutes long, and each incendiary. They can be heard here https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/series/m0014wtn )
The 'Illusion' stretches far and wide and has far reaching consequences.
Customers, be they individual consumers or businesses, are victims of the illusion, but so are lawyers and many that would seek to represent customers and victims.
This is not to criticise those customers or some law firms. How would you know of the illusion or the extent of it? The whole point of an illusion is that you are not supposed to know how it's done.
This is compounded by the fact that most who know of the illusion are either:
a) Still employed by the banks
b) Subject to NDA's or other gagging mechanisms
c) Implicated in the wrongdoing that the illusion conceals
The illusion is further compounded by certain 'Experts'. It astonishes me that the legal system has a desire for 'Experts' with an accreditation, but where the accreditation is the result of an entirely 'theoretical' understanding or academic research, but with a lack of practical experience on the 'coalface'.
Theory and research are heavily influenced by 'Case Law' that exists as the result of previous trials and cases. The problem here is that so much of this 'Case Law', that serves to influence experts, academic research and law firms, and that prevents or hinders future potential cases and claims, are often the 'love-child' of the various factors, parties and contributors to the 'Engineering'.
'Crestsign vs RBS' and 'Marz Limited vs HBOS' are two such pieces of Case Law precedent, secured years ago, that have since been used by banks and their lawyers to prevent any further cases being brought by Claimants in respect to the sale of IRHP's (Interest Rate Hedge Products) to Retail customers.
Both judgements represent an illusion and contradiction to the reality. This is not to say that it is the fault of the Judges, who can only opine on that which is before them. However, it is clear to me that both judgements might have been 'factually correct' in terms of what was presented to the Court and argued within Court, but they were wholly factual incorrect relative to the reality.
There are some quite extraordinary positions put forward in these cases, and further extraordinary positions agreed by the 'experts' on both sides that, frankly, beggar belief, and are certainly contrary to the reality.
Furthermore, there was certainly a non-disclosed conflict of interest in both cases, and it is reasonable to ask what part, if any, those non-disclosed conflicts of interests played in the 'illusion' that played out in those two cases, and the work of fiction that the judgements represent.
RBS, in my opinion, knew that the Crestsign judgement they secured was an illusion. Following the judgement, they settled with Crestsign and before an appeal could be lodged. Why?
They had secured a judgement that would now act as a Case Law precedent that could be used by RBS and all other banks to defeat and prevent any further IRHP claims being brought. They knew it was garbage, and so settled the case before it could be challenged, and did so to ensure that it remained 'on the books' and therefore a 'valid' judgement and therefore precedent in the eyes of the law and judiciary.
Countless victims have been thwarted or deterred altogether from bringing an IRHP claim as a result of that precedent, and only those whose case has been correctly pleaded and that would expose the Crestsign judgement for what it is, have been settled. Settled out of Court so that the pleadings, arguments and evidence that would expose the Crestsign judgement are never 'seen' by the Court, ensuring the Crestsign judgement remains in place.
"Marz Limited" however did pursue their claim, and their's is a further testimony to the illusion and the power of the Crestsign case law precedent that was used by HBOS to defeat the Marz claim.
HBOS/LBG will have been licking their lips when Marz filed their claim. The bank knew that the same non-disclosed conflicts of interests existed in this case as were present in the Crestsign case, and will have known that the same illusion presented to the Court in Crestsign would be presented in this case.
I do not know if RBS knew of the significant non-disclosed conflicts of interests that existed when fighting the Crestsign case, but HBOS/LBG absolutely knew of those non-disclosed conflicts of interests when facing Marz.
I made a 'protected disclosure' personally to new LBG CEO Charlie Nunn in respect to the non-disclosed conflicts of interests and highlighted the evidence that I had, and where he and the bank would find further evidence. I gave them the GPS co-ordinates essentially.
On 28th January 2022 LBG Group Executive Complaints writing on behalf of Charlie Nunn confirmed:
"Thank you Paul, your concerns are being assessed in line with the Groups Speak Up Policy."
However, on 28th April 2022 LBG Group Executive Complaints on the personal behalf of Charlie Nunn wrote:
"Having reviewed your concerns, in the absence of specific details e.g., details of any relevant trades, customers allegedly defrauded, alleged connections between HBOS and xxxxxxxxxx etc, this is not a concern that we will be able to investigate further."
In short, Mr Nunn's and LBG's assessment of these disclosures will have determined that my allegations were entirely correct, and they will also have known that if they did dare to investigate the evidence within the bank that I pointed them to, giving them everything they needed to pinpoint the whereabouts of the further evidence, that they would find all they needed to prove my allegations as to the non-disclosed conflicts of interests, and the bank's dishonesty.
At the LBG AGM a few days later on 10th May 2022, Mr Nunn would, after seeing to it that evidence was buried and these serious and substantiated protected disclosures were not properly investigated, addressed shareholders and the public and sought to have them believe that he had zero tolerance for wrongdoing, took all allegations seriously and investigated them all thoroughly.......
Mr Nunn is weaving the same 'magic' as his predecessor, seamlessly taking on that role within the illusion and filling the substantial 'conjuring' void left by master wizard Mr Horta Osorio. All early evidence suggests that Mr Nunn is well up to the task of filling those shoes and is far from just the 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' his looks would have you believe.
Indeed, Mr Nunn himself wrote on 16th August 2021:
"So today I’m not starting afresh; I’m picking up the baton. Thanks to the work of everyone here – including António and William, who have led this organisation so well ...."
I would argue, not so much 'baton' as 'wand'.
Already we are seeing reference to 'historic' or 'legacy' issues. This was Mr Horta Osorio's favourite term. I lost count of the number of times that the LBG trading floor would fall silent after 4.00pm so that a 'message' from Mr Horta Osorio could be read out to staff after yet another exposure of HBOS/LBG dishonesty, wrongdoing or criminality, all of which were branded 'legacy' issues.
It is not a 'legacy' issue if, when you become aware of it, you CHOOSE to conceal it or fail to act upon the evidence you are aware of. That becomes YOUR issue and does so in 'the here and the now'.
And herein lies the other problem. Much of the 'Hierarchy of Oversight', from The FCA to law enforcement to HM Treasury, has been guilty of historic failure, historic incompetence, historic & wilful blindness, and historic dishonesty & concealment, all of which contributed to the 'Illusion' in the first instance. That history of failure and dishonesty demands that they, like the banks, maintain the illusion so as to conceal the historic failure and dishonesty and avoid being held accountable.
All of which means that any new victim that brings forward their complaint, case or evidence has already invariably had the outcome decided for them. Not by objective review and investigation of the weight of their evidence, but by the weight of historic exposure of those within the hierarchy of oversight.
And make no mistake the 'Illusion' and that historic pre-determination, extends across the spectrum of financial products and services.
It has also spread overseas, as evidenced by the Matt Connolly case. Matt had his conviction for LIBOR related offences overturned earlier this year. A conviction that involved blatant and knowingly false representations made expressly to the Court in New York by a senior FCA executive.
Over the coming weeks and months, I will expand more on the various and multiple factors and parties that are responsible for engineering the illusion.
Time to expose the smoke and mirrors.....
A copy of the above article was sent directly to Charlie Nunn, CEO of Lloyds Banking Group, and the Group Executive Complaints team that act on his behalf, on Sunday 26th June 2022 with the following email:
Dear Mr Nunn,
Further to my earlier email I am relaunching my blog this week after a revamp and redesign.
Please find attached my blog piece produced for the relaunch, and that will constitute the placeholder headline article going forward.
As per journalistic protocol, you are invited to challenge the truth or accuracy of the attached content and provide comment for inclusion.
If I do not receive any challenge or comment by 5.00pm Tuesday 28th June, I will presume you are happy with the content and publish it accordingly.
It is now 5.36pm on same Tuesday 28th June and Mr Nunn or his team have challenged any part of the above content.