13 July 2012

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UK: Let's Put Those Banksters Behind Bars!

Big banks have been rigging the interest rates on our mortgages and student loans! They've finally gone too far -- the scandal has forced George Osborne to open a public consultation to decide if bank bosses should be charged for such crimes. If 100,000 people say yes now, we can put the banksters behind bars.

Dear friends across the UK,

Big banks have been caught in a massive scam to rig interest rates, ripping off millions of people on their mortgages, student loans and more! We'd go to jail for this, but Barclays bank has only been fined a tiny fraction of their profits! Now the government is asking the public if guilty bank bosses should be locked up.

Bank bosses such as Barclays’ Bob Diamond have pocketed tens of millions in bonuses thanks to this fraudulent behaviour. So far they’ve got off scott free, but the tide is turning. Chancellor George Osborne has just started an official public consultation on whether reckless bosses should be jailed. But the banks are lobbying hard against it, and we need a massive surge of people power to drive these reforms through.

If we can get 100,000 people in the next three days to say yes to criminal charges for bankers, we can get George Osborne to face down the banking lobby and put the bank bosses behind bars. Sign now and share widely -- when we reach 100,000 signers we’ll deliver it to the Treasury's consultation.

The full scale of scandal is still unknown, but what we do know is breathtaking: "several" unnamed major banks were involved, and the rigging of the LIBOR interest rate, the rate on which many of the world's interest rates are based, affected the value of literally hundreds of trillions of dollars in investments. Barclays alone has admitted to committing this fraud "hundreds" of times.

We know a massive push from us can work. After the Enron scandal directors were made individually responsible for preventing accounting fraud. Now the government’s new official consultation will determine whether bank bosses are made individually responsible for their banks’ culture and practices. The public consultation results will feed into two bills that are now before Parliament.

The system is rigged, and that's a crime. The big bosses should have fair trials, but it's time to hold them to account and put the criminals behind bars. We can make this happen. Sign now, then share widely -- if 100,000 of us join the call, we can ensure criminal sanctions for bankers who commit financial crimes.

Last summer, against the odds, we succeeded in getting politicians to cut their ties to the Murdoch empire and ensure prosecution of those responsible for phone hacking were arrested. Now, together, we can end the impunity for wealthy bankers.

With hope and determination,

Loup Dargent
On behalf of Alex, Iain, Antonia, Giulia, Luis, Alice, Ricken and the entire Avaaz team

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