What did Tim know? Geithner’s Libor labors

The latest development in the Libor-manipulation scandal is that the banks weren’t really fixing the price of the key interest rate in total secret — US regulators were aware of the sleazy activities at the time, and seemed to have done nothing.
Which should surprise no one.
I can’t tell you how much federal officials knew about the activities of Barclay’s, JPMorgan, Citigroup and the other big banks at the center of the maelstrom. In coming weeks, both Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will inevitably discuss the mess when they appear before Congress.

Bernanke testifies before the Senate Banking Committee next week, but the more important hearing by far will come a week later — when the House Financial Services Committee questions Geithner, who headed the New York Fed when the sleaze was going down.
If the right questions get asked, the American people will get a firsthand account not just about how much our government knew about the Libor mess, but also of the cozy, corrosive relationship between the nation’s big banks and the bureaucrats who are supposed to regulate them.
Long before President Obama tapped him for Treasury, Geithner was one of those bureaucrats. He worked at the Clinton Treasury, the IMF and then as president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank for five years — where he played a key role in the bailouts and the rest of the government’s response to the financial crisis.

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