UBS agrees to pay $1.5 billion for manipulating LIBOR

UBS, the biggest in Switzerland, will pay more three times the amount of the settlement reached in June with Britain's Barclays, another one of the more than dozen banks investigated for trying to rig global interest rates

Zurich: Swiss banking giant UBS said it had agreed to pay about $1.5 billion to British, US and Swiss regulators to settle allegations it manipulated LIBOR interest rates, reports PTI.


The bank said it the settlement, equivalent to 1.2 billion euros, would likely push into a net loss of between $2.2- $2.7 billion, in the fourth quarter.


The LIBOR rate is a reference point for vast ranges of financial contracts around the world, and revelations that it had been rigged have damaged the reputation of the City of London financial centre.


"UBS agrees to pay approximately CHF 1.4 billion in fines and disgorgement to US, UK and Swiss authorities to resolve LIBOR-related investigations," the statement said.


The bank, the biggest in Switzerland, will pay more three times the amount of the settlement reached in June with Britain's Barclays, another one of the more than dozen banks investigated for trying to rig global interest rates.


As part of the one of the biggest fines ever slapped on a financial institution, the Swiss bank said it had agreed to pay $260 million in fines to the UK Financial Services Authority.


It will pay $64 million as disgorgement, or compensatory penalty, of estimated profits to the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).


It also said it had agreed to payment schedules for a total of $1.2 billion to the US Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).


UBS was the first bank to reveal problems in the rate-setting process of the LIBOR, an acronym for London Interbank Offered Rate, which estimates the rates at which banks lend money to each other and also affects huge numbers of contracts around the world.


Other banks are also reportedly in advanced talks with regulators about settling allegations that they too manipulated their LIBOR information, including Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank.


Online shopping: What is it in for you?

A large number of online shops have sprung up. How would you distinguish the good and the bad of the new virtual world of buying

Flipkart, Jabong, Homeshop18, Myntra, Yebhi, Infibeam, Naaptol—lots of advertisements from online retailers among these, appear on television these days. Besides these online retailers which sell multi-brand products, official websites of companies also offer you the facility of shopping online from their virtual stores. Should you jump into buying stuff online or not? If your answer is yes, you are reading the right piece. Read on to find out what you need to know about shopping online.

Multi-brand online retailers: They offer a variety of similar products to choose from. They have tie-ups with a number of brands and if you are looking for a tablet computer, for example, they would display all tablet computers available in the price range that you opt for. This makes comparison very easy, which would not happen, in case you visit stores of particular companies, one at a time. Once you pick companies and products for comparison, you can actually look at all features of that particular product.

Features, comments and rating: Other than that, users and other customers leave their comments and reviews about their shopping experience on the website as well as of using the product. So, you get to know from other users, before shopping, the kind of services that the product as well as the website gives. You would rarely meet existing customers in-store. For you to look at the product design from various angles, pictures taken from different angles are uploaded. You must not forget to zoom-in and have a complete view. Users also give star ratings to products for you to make sense about the services of the company as well as the online shopping platform you are using.

Payment options: You get a number of options like

  • Billing to mobile phones
  • Cash on delivery
  • Net banking
  • Credit card full payment option
  • Credit card EMI option
  • Other card payment

Out of these, cash on delivery is the safest option. Once you get the delivery, it is good if you check the product and then pay, in case the product is defective or else a wrong product has been delivered to you. For those who use credit cards, credit card EMI option is great, which comes with varied instalment periods to choose from. Online retailers have tie-ups with banks and offer you EMIs without any interest being charged. On many occasions, processing fees are also waived as a product promotion campaign. Although there are limitations on the minimum order you place, this option is by far the best option for expensive items, in case you cannot afford one time payment.

Delivery mechanisms: Depending on what you buy, these retailers deliver at home, allow you to download, take a print out, or ask you to pick your packet from your nearest point of sale.

Replacement guarantee: Many online retailers give you a replacement guarantee within 30 days of delivery of goods.

What you should be careful about

  • Replacement guarantees have certain conditions/ limitations put on them. For example, the product should be returned with all the original packaging and accessories, including the manufacturer's packaging if any, and all other items originally included with the delivered product. Also guarantee is not applicable for damage due to mis-use, malfunctioning due to manufacturing, uninstalled consumable or damages not covered by the manufacturers.
  • Choose the mode of payment that suits you best. In case you buy through credit cards and can afford all payment at one go, it is better to buy on down payment rather than going for EMIs, if processing fees are applicable.
  • While making online payments, you should always check for payment security of the platform that the website uses. For read more about how to check whether the payment platform is secure or not, read Online Shopping: 5 Ways to know the site you are using is safe
  • It is always good to shop after creating a login ID on these websites. This way you get mails with all your shopping details, which make it easier to track your transactions.
  • You should make sure you save the “transaction successful” page and also note down your transaction ID for future use, in case goods do not get delivered. Many of these websites have 24-hour customer support centres where you can call to clarify things.

On the whole, online retailing is a convenient way of comparing similar products in the market and choosing the best for you. However, you, as a customer, need to be careful about the right products getting delivered to you as well as the safety and authentication of the payment that you make. It is best to check the items, when they are delivered to you, and also pay cash on delivery. This way, your money won’t get stuck in case there is a problem with the speed of internet when paying online, which would save you from stress.


RTI query shows that National Women’s Commission is spineless

In the case of slanderous remarks on women by Union minister Prakash Jaiswal in October 2012, RTI reveals that neither the NWC nor the PMO lodged even the elementary police complaint against him. Why have such a lame-duck NWC?

While the horrendous gang-rape of a medical student in South Delhi, who is now battling for life has infuriated the entire nation, the fact is sexual abuse, verbal or otherwise is taken lightly not only by the law enforcing authorities and political powers-that-be but hold your breath—even the National Women’s Commission (NWC)!

While the NWC has not taken any stringent action against the gang-rape case and has merely voiced concern (thank you), its recent history reveals that its chairpersons/members themselves suffer from foot-in-the-mouth syndrome, or worse have outrageous views on women. A couple of examples include the 2009 Mangalore Pub attack case when its member Nirmala Venkatesh made a statement that women who went to that pub should have protected themselves against the backdrop of less security provided by the pub and if they were not in the wrong, should have come forward and given a complaint. She was sacked from NWC. In July 2012, NWC member Alka Lamba leaked out the name of the minor raped in Guwahati and was subsequently removed from the fact-finding committee. Present chairperson of NWC, Mamata Sharma advocated that women dress properly for reduction of rape crimes.

Hence, it is not surprising how casual was the attitude of NWC when Union minister Prakash Jaiswal made derogatory remarks against women at a public function in Kanpur in October 2012. The revelations under the RTI (Right to Information) Act in response to RTI applications filed by ace RTI activist Subhash Agrawal reveals the callous and indifferent attitude towards women abuse.

Just to recall, Prakash Jaiswal, at a poetry function in Kanpur in October 2012, compared India’s T-20 World Cup win to a wife. He stated that like in cricket where a new victory has importance, a new marriage also has charm but with passing time, like the victory, a wife becomes old and loses charm and then there is no fun. (Nayi nayi jeet aur nayi nayi shaadi, iska apna alag mahatva hota hai... jaise jaise samay beetega.. jeet ki yaadein purani hoti jayegi; jaise jaise samay beet ta hai, patni purani hoti chali jati hai, vo maza nahi rehta hai.)

Delhi-based RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal sought information from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in the first week of this October, regarding action taken against Mr Jaiswal in this issue of derogatory remarks against women and whether the NWC has taken up the matter with the PMO and whether NWC had lodged a police complaint in this regard?

NCW letter to PMO in the Jaiswal case

The PMO sent him a photocopy of a letter written by Mamta Sharma, chairperson of NWC on 3 October 2012 which reveals that all that she did was to dash of a letter which any faceless citizen could have done. The letter written to prime minister Manmohan Singh by Mamta Sharma reads: “I would like to bring to your kind attention regarding the derogatory remarks made by Shri Sriprakash Jaiswal, minister of coal, Government of India against the women while attending a programme during  Kavi Sammelan at KK Girls College. Kanpur, UP.

“The comments made by him were almost abusive for all the women of the country and extremely unfortunate. Women’s groups, social organizations and political parties have strongly criticized his comments.

“The incident was also aired on electronic media as well as print media and the NGOs demonstrated outside his house at Kanpur.

“National Commission for Women is seriously concerned about the remarks made by the minister against the women as the comments are unfortunate abusive and insulting for women of the country. Keeping in view of the above, I shall be grateful if you kindly look into the matter and advised him to be more careful in future while making such comments in public.” (produced verbatim). 

If the NWC does not go beyond the verbose statement of asking the PM to advise Mr Jaiswal to “be more careful in future” what hope can women of being safe or have an organization of the caliber of NWC to fight for them? No police complaint was lodged by NWC as per RTI documents.

PMO’s letter to NWC

The PMO was equally spineless in its reply to Ms Sharma. The copy of the letter received by Mr Agrawal under RTI, from PM Manmohan Singh (written on 17th October) to Mamta Sharma states: “ I am in receipt  of  your  letter  of  3 October, 2012 regarding the alleged remarks made by Shri Sriprakash Jaiswal, minister  of  coal, Government  of  India  while  attending  a programme at KK Girls College, Kanpur,  Uttar Pradesh.  I can understand your sentiments on the issue.

“The government and I personally attach great importance to the need to protect the dignity and status of women.  I agree with you that nothing should be said or done that is or can be construed to be disrespectful to women.” That’s it and the matter of women abuse by a Union minister was over for the NWC as well as the PMO.

Moneylife holds regular seminars on how to use RTI to contribute to improved governance. Read about the latest RTI seminar.

Agrawal’s RTI application:

Subhash Agrawal has asked the following information in his RTI application of 3 October 2012, from the PMO. He had to go to in first appeal to the appellate authority in PMO before he received a reply. Earlier he had sent a letter to PMO asking the PM to sack Mr Jaiswal on this issue.

 He had asked for:

“Has the National Commission of Women (NWC) taken up the matter as referred in queries above with the prime minister and/or PMO as also referred in enclosed news-clippings? If yes, copies of all such correspondence between the NWC and PMO and also information on action taken by PMO on any such reporting by NWC.”

“Complete  information  together  with  related  file-notings/correspondence/documents  on  under-mentioned  aspects  also  relating to  my submissions ‘File police-complaint against Shri Prakash Jaiswal  apart from sacking from Union  Cabinet’  (03.10.2012)  e-mailed  to  PMO,  and  the news item ‘Wives  lose  their charm with age, remarks Jaiswal’ (TOI 03.10.2012) copies enclosed:

“Complete information together with related correspondence/file-notings/documents on action taken on each and every aspect of my submissions. File police complaint against Shri Prakash Jaiswal apart from sacking from the Union cabinet (03.1 0.2012) e-mailed to the PMO by PMO and/or by public-authority where these submissions have been forwarded by the PMO.

Learn how to use the existing RTI Act of India to query the private sector

“Complete information on action taken by the prime minister/PMO and/or concerned public authority against Union minister Shri Prakash Jaiswal for his said remarks against women.

“Has some clarification etc sought from Union minister Shri Prakash Jaiswal for his said remarks against women? If yes, please provide details with copies of explanation sought and received.

“Was resignation sought from Union minister Shri Prakash Jaiswal for his said remarks against women as referred in this RTI petition? Was video-recording of disgraceful remarks against women made by Union minister Shri Prakash Jaiswal sought by PMO/NWC/Union ministry for women/any other concerned public authority for study and/or matching with his twisted clarifications?  If yes to (6) and/or (7), please provide details.”

To Mr Agrawal’s queries of whether the PMO sought explanation from Mr Jaiswal or whether a resignation order was given against him for his derogatory remarks in public, the PMO replied that: “there is no information of such record in this office.”

Let see if both the PMO and NWC limp back to solid action in the gang-rape case.

Moneylife RTI workshop: How to use RTI effectively, for beginners

(Vinita Deshmukh is the consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)



subrahmanian s h

4 years ago

The clue to our ruling elite is from a Senior Citizen in Delhi yesterday. What do we expect from this sort of NCW..?
“I am ashamed as a human being. I wonder what their mothers think about those boys who did this crime,. Be it the Raisina Hills or 10 Janpath, India’s power corridor got a taste of people’s power on Saturday with thousands of citizens, young and old, coming out voluntarily to protest the gang rape of a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus. Missing to perform duties were the Commissioner of Police, PM, Gandys and Home Ministr and his Secretary. Police were leaderless, aimless and cowardly.
The rage of the citizens is still on display. The protest turned violent was a different matter. Did any neta assumed leadership?
Today, being Sunday more protesters are likely to assemble at public places. Funny all roads leading to Rashtrapati Bhavan are closed. Section 144 is invoked.
The government’s knee-jerk response last evening incident reflects the absolute bankruptcy of ideas in the political class.
Naturally it's feared: "once media spotlight dims, rapes will continue..."

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