Lord Owen: ‘We are in a David vs Goliath fight, but it is one we are determined to win – for the good of the British people’

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LONDON – England – The publication of donors for the Britain Stronger In Europe campaign reveals the extent of funding behind the skewed EU referendum and what Vote Leave is up against.

 

 

  • Today, the Electoral Commission published details of donations and loans to the EU referendum campaigns.

  • Just four donors to the Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE) campaign, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Citi, have had to pay a total of $27.7 billion to the US Government for their role in causing the global financial crisis in 2008.

  • The US Government had stated that all of these banks contributed to the financial crisis by misselling toxic mortgages. Goldman Sachs also cooked the books to allow Greece to join the single currency.

  • In 2015, the four banks spent collectively as much as €5.25 million lobbying the European Commission. Each bank spent at least €1 million.

  • Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan were supportive of the UK’s entry into the single currency, as was Citi’s current Chief Economist who predicted Greece would leave the euro by 1 January 2013.

  • Lloyds Bank Plc (which had to be bailed out by the taxpayer and was involved in the LIBOR) has lent the BSE campaign £20,000 at just 1% interest.

  • The BSE campaign has also accepted donations from companies which are majority owned by foreign governments, companies based offshore, a company owned by a Russian oligarch linked to ‘a campaign of state-sponsored harassment’ and supporters of and donors to the pro-euro campaign fifteen years ago.

lord owen vote leave obama

Commenting, former Labour Foreign Secretary Lord Owen said:

 

‘The EU works in the interests of the elite – the one per cent – so it is entirely unsurprising to find that the campaign to keep us in the Union is financed by big banks like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

 

‘With their unlimited cash, they are lobbying the British people to act in a way that benefits their profit margin. Remember, these banks are the very people who crashed the economy in 2008 – misselling toxic mortgages, and cooking the books to allow Greece to join the single currency. Millions of ordinary people paid for their mistakes – and many are still suffering.

 

‘The truth is that Wall Street’s predatory habits have played an important, although little recognised, role in the Eurozone crisis. Yet, today, Goldman Sachs have the brass cheek to lecture us in the UK on why we should stay in an EU damaged and rendered virtually dysfunctional by the Eurozone crisis.

 

‘These figures show again that we are in a David vs Goliath fight, but it is one we are determined to win – for the good of the British people. They are the ones who pay the costs of uncontrolled migration – through lower wages, and unsustainable pressure on public services such as schools and hospitals. Now is the opportunity for them to strike back – and reclaim control of the £350 million we send to the EU every week, to spend it on their priorities instead.’

 

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EU lobbying by BSE’s donors and the fines they paid for causing the financial crisis

 

The table summarises the amount spent by these giant banks on lobbying the EU, and the fines and settlements they made in reparation to the US Government for causing the financial crisis.

 

Lobbying (2015)

Fines and settlements for causing the financial crisis

Low (€m)

High (€m)

$bn

Goldman Sachs

€ 1.00

€ 1.25

$5.1

JPMorgan

€ 1.25

€ 1.50

$13

Morgan Stanley

€ 1.00

€ 1.25

$2.6

Citi

€ 1.00

€ 1.25

$7

Total

€ 4.25

€ 5.25

$27.7

Source: European Commission, US Department of Justice.

 

Goldman Sachs campaigned for the single currency.

Peter Sutherland, Chief Executive of Goldman Sachs International sat on the Council of Britain in Europe, the failed campaign to scrap the pound and to ratify the European Constitution.

Mr Sutherland was a vocal supporter of the single currency: ‘[F]ormer European commissioner Peter Sutherland, who is now chairman of the investment bank Goldman Sachs International. Mr Sutherland said it had been a tragedy that Britain had stood apart during the early formative years of European integration and had often appeared to be a semi-detached participant in the process. “An opt-out from the single currency will exacerbate the impression and the reality of this detachment and inevitably will reduce the influence of Britain at a time of fundamental change both within Europe and globally,” he added. “It is surely essential that the United Kingdom should seek to advance its influence and the irony is that British influence over its own destiny in all economic areas, including currency, is enhanced rather than eroded by pooling sovereignty”‘ (Press Association, 12 November 1996).

Corruption

Goldman Sachs cooked the books to allow Greece to join the euro.

Goldman Sachs helped the Greek government to mask the true extent of its deficit with the help of a derivatives deal that legally circumvented the EU Maastricht deficit rules. At some point the so-called cross currency swaps will mature, and swell the country’s already bloated deficit’.

 

Goldman Sachs was a major cause of the financial crisis.

In 2016, Goldman Sachs reached a settlement with the US Government under which it paid $5.06 billion ‘related to Goldman’s conduct in the packaging, securitization, marketing, sale and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) between 2005 and 2007.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer said the bank was one ‘whose illegal conduct resulted in the financial crisis of 2008′.

Associate United States Attorney General Stuart F. Delery stated that the bank had committed ‘serious misconduct in falsely assuring investors that securities it sold were backed by sound mortgages, when it knew that they were full of mortgages that were likely to fail’.

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Goldman Sachs spends millions lobbying the EU.

In 2015, Goldman Sachs spent between €1,000,000 and €1,249,999 lobbying the European Commission.

‘Goldman Sachs’ figures rose from €50,000 to between €700,000 and €799,999 in the same period [between 2013 and 2014]- a 14-fold hike’.

bribe

Goldman Sachs funds the lobbyist Nick Clegg to make pro-EU speeches.

Goldman Sachs paid pro-EU lobbyist Nick Clegg £22,500 to make a pro-EU speech in 2015 .

 

JPMorgan supported the single currency and claimed the risky option was to stay out.

The Vice Chairman, Investment Banking at JPMorgan, Lord Renwick of Clifton was a member of the Council of Britain in Europe, the failed campaign to scrap the pound and to ratify the European Constitution.

JPMorgan warned the UK could be left ‘isolated‘ outside the ‘single currency‘: ‘This time round, as the investment bank JP Morgan noted yesterday: “A ‘yes’ vote could leave the UK isolated as the only one of the 15 European Union members without a clear timetable for entry’… As the JP Morgan analysis notes, if that happened: “Investors are unlikely to react positively to the rejection of the single currency by a country that has been a member of the EU for 27 years, with a fixed exchange rate for 18 years’.

JPMorgan claimed that staying out of the ‘single currency’ would lead to banks relocating to the rest of the EU: ‘Despite all this, JP Morgan does not see “Project 1992” as the real threat to London. Potentially more dangerous is the distant prospect of a single currency and central bank. JP Morgan argues that financial business would be likely to gravitate to the place where such a central bank operated, although policy-making could be split from the operations – as the US Federal Reserve is divided between Washington and New York. At least JP Morgan reckons London has a fair claim to be the operating centre’ (Independent, 20 September 1988).

 

JPMorgan spends millions lobbying the Commission.

In 2015, JPMorgan spent between €1,250,000 and €1,499,999 lobbying the European Commission.

JP Morgan Chase says its lobbying costs in Brussels went up from €50,000 in 2013 to between €1,250,000 and €1,499,999 in 2014 – a 30-fold increase’.

 

JPMorgan was a major cause of the global financial crisis.

In November 2013, JPMorgan reached a $13 billion settlement with the Department of Justice ‘for Misleading Investors About Securities Containing Toxic Mortgages‘. ‘As part of the settlement, JPMorgan acknowledged it made serious misrepresentations to the public’.

The United States Attorney General Eric Holder said: ‘the conduct uncovered in this investigation helped sow the seeds of the mortgage meltdown’, and said JPMorgan had ‘knowingly bundle[d] toxic loans and [sold] them to unsuspecting investors‘.

Associate Attorney General Tony West said the bank ‘helped create a financial storm’ and that ‘the conduct JPMorgan has acknowledged – packaging risky home loans into securities, then selling them without disclosing their low quality to investors – contributed to the wreckage of the financial crisis‘.

 

JPMorgan pays for advice from pro-EU lobbyist Tony Blair.

Blair has been paid around £2 million per year as a part time adviser to JP Morgan.

 

Citi was a major cause of the global financial crisis.

In July 2014, Citigroup entered into a $7 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice ‘for Misleading Investors About Securities Containing Toxic Mortgages‘.

The US Attorney General, Eric Holder, said: ‘The bank’s activities contributed mightily to the financial crisis that devastated our economy in 2008‘.

Associate Attorney General Tony West said the bank had ‘a contributing role in creating the financial crisis‘.

 

Citi spends millions lobbying the EU.

In 2015, Citi spent between €1,000,000 and €1,249,999 lobbying the European Commission.

 

Citi’s chief economist was a fanatical advocate of the UK scrapping the pound and has made many false predictions in the past.

Citigroup’s Global Chief Economist is Willem H. Buiter.

In August 2002, Buiter co-wrote a paper entitled ‘Why Britain should join the euro‘. It argued that ‘Joining the euro would increase our incomes and thus our standard of living’.

Buiter also claimed remaining outside the single currency would ‘damage to London’s position as an international financial centre’ and lead to ‘second fiddle status in the political concert of Europe’ (The Independent, 3 July 1998, p. 19).

In May 2012, Citi predicted Greece would leave the eurozone by 1 January 2013.

 

Morgan Stanley played a major part in causing the global financial crisis.

In February 2016, Morgan Stanley paid a penalty of $2.6 billion to the US Government

Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart F. Delery said the bank had engaged in ‘misleading investors about the subprime mortgage loans underlying the securities it sold’

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer said the bank was among ‘those who contributed to the financial crisis of 2008’ (US Department of Justice, 11 February 2016, link).

 

Morgan Stanley spent millions lobbying the EU.

In 2015, Morgan Stanley spent between €1,000,000 and €1,249,999 lobbying the European Commission.

 

Lloyds supported the Exchange Rate Mechanism and scrapping the pound.

Lloyds was a member of the Association for the Monetary Union of Europe, which was established ‘as a voice for Europe’s business community expressing the need for monetary stability and a single European currency’ (Investors Chronicle, 6 December 1991, p.14).

Lloyds called for the UK to rejoin the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1993, as a prelude to scrapping the pound. Lloyds’ Chief Economist, Patrick Foley, claimed that: ‘It would make it easier and more attractive for countries such as Italy and the UK to rejoin the system… The advantage of rebuilding the ERM is that it would allow the EC to move towards a single currency which would make the operation of the European single market more effective’ (Press Association, 21 June 1993).

Mr Foley later claimed that: ‘Prices of goods would come down’ if the pound were scrapped and that ‘sovereignty over monetary policy would be a good thing for the British government to lose’ (Sunday Times, 4 February 1996).

More recently, Lloyds has warned against a referendum stating that it could lead to ‘uncertainty’.

 

Lloyds was heavily involved in the 2008 financial crisis and had to be bailed out to the tune of billions by the taxpayer.

In 2008, Lloyds/HBOS had to receive a Government bailout of £17 billion. The Government acquired a 40% stake in the bank.

As part of its efforts to recapitalise Lloyds Banking Group, the Government ended up acquiring 41% of Lloyds shares.

 

Lloyds was implicated in the LIBOR scandal in 2014 and was fined hundreds of millions for ‘manipulation’.

In July 2014, Lloyds was fined £218m for ‘serious misconduct‘ over the setting of interest rates in London.

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said that Lloyds manipulated the London interbank offered rate (Libor) for yen and sterling and tried to rig the rate for yen, sterling and the US dollar.

Corruption And Bribery

Other BSE donors

 

BSE have also accepted donations from the following questionable sources :

Lord Sainsbury of Turville (£2,581,954.00 declared today): Lord Sainsbury gave over £1 million to the Britain in Europe campaign in 2002.

Lord Bhattacharyya (£50,000.00 declared today): He donated an undisclosed sum in excess of £10,000 to Britain in Europe, the failed campaign to join the euro and ratify the single currency.

Eurostar (£7,508.50 declared today): the French Republic has a 55% stake in the rail company while the Belgian Government has a 5% stake.

Airbus Group Ltd (£7,508.50 declared today): Airbus supported joining the euro, arguing this was crucial for jobs.

Access Industries (not reported today) is the US-based vehicle of Len Blavatnik, who has been accused by a number of academics of having links to a group called Access-Alfa-Renova which ‘has long been accused of being behind a campaign of state-sponsored harassment‘.

Bet365 (not reported today): This company is located offshore, being based in Gibraltar. It has been reported that ‘new UK regulations which imply higher tax burdens are… likely to lie behind the move’.

Sir Mike Rake (not reported today): He was senior partner at KPMG when it donated an undisclosed sum to Britain in Europe, the failed campaign to join the euro and ratify the single currency. Rake publicly called on the Government to adopt the single currency (Daily Telegraph, 8 June 2001, p. 2).

Sir Roger Carr, Chairman of BAE Systems (not reported today): BAE Systems donated an undisclosed sum to Britain in Europe, the failed campaign to join the euro and ratify the single currency.

PwC (£7,508.50 declared today): PwC donated an undisclosed sum to Britain in Europe, the failed campaign to join the euro and ratify the single currency.

Roland Rudd (£32,508.50 declared today): He has claimed that there are ‘powerful arguments in favour of the return of the euro to the agenda’. Finsbury Group, of which Rudd is Chief Executive, also declared £7,508.50 today.

Jan du Plessis (not reported today), who has admitted that: ‘It has become painfully obvious that the countries in the eurozone are locked together in a straitjacket and that the founders of the single currency have thrown away the key. Of course, some would say they never intended to make keys available…. These economic imbalances, and the respective sets of cultural values that gave birth to them are, in my view, so intractable that it is very hard to see any solution that is truly sustainable over the long term’.