Eliot Spitzer thinks that bankers are the ultimate thugs.
"I think the mob learned from Wall Street, not vice versa," Spitzer said on his Current TV show "Viewpoint" on Tuesday. "Seriously! I think the mob looked at the business practices, whether it's Rockefeller and the oil trusts or Wall Street, and they said, 'Hey, you know, cartels are good. They're better than hitting people on the head with a baseball bat.'"
Spitzer was referring largely to Wall Street's alleged conspiracy to fix the Libor rate, a key interbank lending rate that acts as a benchmark for interest rates around the world. Barclays agreed to pay $450 million last month to settle charges that it had rigged the Libor rate. But it is unlikely that Barclays acted alone. Governments also are investigating JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, UBS and the Royal Bank of Scotland for allegedly helping fix the Libor rate.
Wall Street's rigging of Libor may have spanned decades, according to multiple reports.
Spitzer, the disgraced ex-governor of New York, famously went after big banks as the state's attorney general. "Virtually nobody has been chased out of the business despite the massive, unbelievably expansive corruption that we’ve seen month after month," he added.
Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, a guest on Spitzer's show, said that it is highly unlikely that Barclays acted alone in fixing the Libor rate. Taibbi said that since about 16 banks help set Libor, "Really in the end, it's probably going to come out that it's going to be all of them were involved in this. And that's what it's critical for people to understand: that this is a cartel-style corruption."
The Morning Email helps you start your workday with everything you need to know: breaking news, entertainment and a dash of fun. Learn more