Panorama: The Billion Pound Savings Scandal, BBC 1, BBC iPlayer, Directed by Andrew Thompson and Luke Mendham.

Britain is the money-laundering capital of the world. An estimated billion pounds is lost every year to companies that go bust, create ‘anonymous’ limited accounts, disappear or hide their wealth in tax havens in former British colonies. Panorama follows one company, Blackmore Bonds and other subsidiaries to an address in Gibraltar. Blackmore as a limited company went bust, leaving around 2000 investors in Britain with worthless bits of paper where their savings were.

A £46 million fraud, in which the two directors of Blackmore, Philip Nunn and Patrick McCreesh walk away with millions of pounds, seems an open-and-shut case for a police investigation.

Financial expert, Paul Carlier, reported Blackmore to the proper authorities. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which was set up to regulate firms and financial markets in the United Kingdom had oversight in such cases.

Whistle-blowers in the FCA reported widespread managerial incompetence and graft. Large fees being paid to those at the top for marketing themselves rather than protecting their clients. Andrew Bailey began his term as Governor of the Bank of England on 16th March 2020. Prior to his appointment he was Chief Executive Officer of FCA.

Those left with worthless Blackmore bonds know they have little or no hope of being reimbursed. But they hope for a public enquiry. We get the usual sentiments about making sure these fraudsters are made to pay, and making sure others don’t have to suffer as they did.

Money talks. A public enquiry that uncovered the PPI scandal, one of the many edifices that lead to the banking crash of 2007-8, in which banks sold policies knowing they were worthless to their customers, resulted in no prosecutions. But many customers got their money reimbursed. In the same way, those with Blackmore bonds feel themselves cheated and think they should qualify to be reimbursed—which they will do, if there is a public enquiry—because the FDA failed to act, despite being continually informed what was happening on the ground.   

A letter addressed to Paul Carlier, included much information that the FDA was trying to hide and hoodwink others they were doing a great job of oversight in finance and fraud. The Queen famously asked economists why they hadn’t seen the global financial crass of 2007-8 coming. Here it is in black and white. Andrew Bailey is culpable but gets promoted to one of the most prestigious jobs in Britain. Here he’s lost £50 million. Let’s see how he deals with inflation. I’m no financial expert, but I can tell you how it will go. He will raise interest rates by a quarter-point. Round up the usual suspect. Raise interest rates by another quarter point. When he walks away from the job he’ll be all the richer. We’ll be none the wiser. Stagflation will continue regardless.  

Philip Nunn and Patrick McCreesh are crooks. Andrew Bailey is a different kind of charlatan. His incompetence costs him nothing.  


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