Bankers

New Icelandic myths

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Iceland's Tories, the Independence Party, apparently had good reason to feel satisfied with the last year as they announced a new debt relief plan.

Having presided over Iceland's spectacular financial collapse in 2008, they were returned to office in May.

Despite only receiving a slight increase in their vote, and being forced into coalition with the liberal Progressive Party, they won the finance ministry for their leader Bjarni Benediktsson.

The real bank robbers

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Bankers have become among the most hated section of the population, but mainly because of the huge rewards they continue to give themselves despite the massive financial crisis they caused. Mike Haynes looks at why we should loathe their other thieving activities - those on the high street.

Twice last summer robbers made off with the cash boxes containing a few tens of thousands each from local banks. But who were the bigger thieves - the robbers or the branches of the banks whose cash was stolen? I have no romantic illusions about people who rob banks. But thinking about how the banks themselves have robbed us at a branch level is an interesting exercise.

When dodgy dealing and debt shook the global financial system in 2008 most attention was focused on what is called investment banking. Investment banks have two jobs.

Crumbling Pillars of the British Establishment

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The phone hacking scandal has rapidly spread to engulf the police, the government and sections of the media. Estelle Cooch looks at the crisis of legitimacy spreading through the British establishment.

A succession of scandals have engulfed British public life over the last three years, each one placing under the spotlight the entrenched corruption of a different institution that governs our lives. First, there was the banking crisis and the huge bailouts that followed, and then came the parliamentary expenses scandal. Now the phone hacking scandal has raised profound disquiet not just about parts of the press but also about the cosy relationship of sections of the media with both politicians and the police.

Jennifer Moses, Gordon Brown and social policy: trust me, I've lost millions

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February's collapse of the London-based Peloton hedge fund was a clear indication of the scale of the banking crisis.

Next we saw the further collapse of the Bear Stearns bank, and even the Financial Times declared that "there is a whiff of 1929 about this".

As the crisis gathered, Peloton managers informed investors that its flagship fund, supposedly worth £1 billion, was worthless and it did not know how much its remaining £800 million fund would have left after banks seized and sold its assets.

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