The Financial Services Authority says that banks have been involved in the widespead use of a confidence trick in which customers wage money to guess the location of ball that is randomly placed underneath 1 of 3 cups.
The latest case of serious malpractice at the UK’s banks involved employees placing the ball under one of the cups and quickly shuffling them around. The customer would then be expected to bet on which cup the ball is under.
The managing director of the FSA’s conduct business unit, Martin Wheatley, said the practice had been costly for the victims.
He told reporters, “It was impossible for the customer to win, unless the bank wanted them to.”
Amongst the banks involved in the practice are Barclays, who have also been fined for rigging lending rates between banks, fortune telling and Three-card Monte.
The boss of Barclays, Bob Diamond, has adopted a technique made popular by well-known ticksters News Corp, by insisting that the wrongdoing was carried out by a “small number” of employees without his knowledge.
Speaking at a meeting of analysts at US bank, Morgan Stanley, Mr Diamond said: “My bonus is linked to the performance of Barclays employees.”
“I am happy to take all credit and responsibility for any profits they generate in order to receive that bonus.”
“However, if they get found out then it’s nothing to do with me.”
“Now, do I have any volunteers to try my patented ‘Bobby D’s Rejuvenating Tonic’?”
“You sir, in the wheelchair?”