A lot of things have ticked Matt Taibbi off over the last 12 months.
There was JPMorgan’s London Whale scandal and the Justice Department's decision to leave Goldman Sachs alone. Even everyone's favorite billionaire Warren Buffett managed to rile Taibbi. But there’s one event that's made him angrier than anything else: The Libor scandal.
The Rolling Stone columnist singled out Libor manipulation as the “biggest story” in business this year -- and maybe of all time -- in a recent interview with Current TV. Regulators have fined two banks so far for their role in the Libor scandal: Barclay's agreed to pay $450 million in June to settle claims the bank manipulated the interest rate and UBS will pay $1.5 billion to settle charges of rate-rigging.
“The Libor case is kind of symbolic of the worst of [market manipulation],” Taibbi said on Current TV. “If it’s true that the 16 biggest banks in the world were fixing global interest rates, then it’s hard not to argue that that’s not the biggest financial corruption case in history.”
But as Taibbi notes, most Americans aren't exactly riled up about the Libor scandal as it's gone underreported “largely because people don’t understand it,” despite even Taibbi's best efforts. Libor is “a key short-term bank lending rate that affects mortgages and other interest rates throughout the economy,” as put by The Huffington Post's Mark Gongloff. In other words, Libor manipulation may have affected trillions of dollars worth of transactions.
As such, Taibbi said in response to CNBC anchor Larry Kudlow back in July that he "can’t imagine how he [Kudlow] could possibly -- a sane person could possibly -- describe this as a victimless crime."
(Hat tip: Raw Story)