The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Currency traders expose some of Wall Street's dirty linen

Dec 1, 2003

Forty-seven currency traders were arrested for fraud November 19. They were employed at some of Wall Street's biggest investment banks, including J.P. Morgan and UBS. Discovered in a sting arranged by the FBI, they were accused of charges ranging from money laundering, extortion, trafficking in weapons and drugs, as well as fraud. Losses were said to run in the millions of dollars, affecting not only the big banks they worked for, but thousands of small investors.

Some of those arrested were said to have been carrying out similar schemes for more than 20 years, without ever being caught. If they were able to get away with these schemes for so long, it's because of the way that Wall Street itself functions. Every day, 1.2 trillion dollars are traded there, most of it via telephone or computer. There are few controls, and the ones that do exist control little or nothing. The stock exchange is marked by wheeling and dealing. Officials of the brokerage houses, the big banks, insurance companies and any number of capitalist institutions spend their days speculating, trying to put their hands on more money than the next guy. They are ready to rob each other, and ready to use every dirty trick in the book to do it.

If it were only that, let them be –