Serious fraud office

Britain’s economic fate doesn’t depend on Heathrow

Hit-and-miss, heavy-handed, but a necessary use of justice to deter repetition. That was my summing-up, last year, of the Serious Fraud Office’s probe into the Libor and Euribor scandal, in which just nine low-ranking traders from four banks were convicted, despite evidence that rate-fixing malpractice had been endemic throughout the money markets for years. In the case of the SFO’s inquiry into the controversial capital–raising that enabled Barclays to escape a taxpayer bailout in 2008, the summary has to be ‘miss-and-miss, heavier-handed than ever’. But still I ask: was it worthwhile as a warning to others? The nub of the case was the payment to Qatari investors, to secure their