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A Price-fixing Scandal Bigger Than Libor?: How the Oil Companies have us over a barrel

The London offices of Shell, BP, Statoil and Platts, the world’s leading oil price reporting agency, were raided yesterday by European Commission inspectors, investigating allegations of collusion in price-fixing over the past 11 years.

After last year’s Libor scandal, these new allegations of price-fixing look set to be a further damning indictment (if ever that were needed) of capitalism and the unfettered greed of its corporations.

If the allegations are true, then it again shows how prices are based NOT on true cost, but on an arbitrary figure dreamed-up to give as much money to a selfish, spineless, avaricious few.

The price people pay for oil is based on a “benchmark” which is calculated by price reporting agencies based on data received from firms such as oil companies, banks and hedge funds, which all trade oil on a daily basis. It is these submissions which the EC suspect are possibly fraudulent.

A spokesman for the European Commission said:

“The commission has concerns that companies may have colluded in reporting distorted prices to a price reporting agency to manipulate the published prices for a number of oil and biofuel products.

Officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of several companies active in and providing services to crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels sectors.

Even small distortions of assessed prices may have a huge impact on the prices of crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels purchases purchases and sales, potentially harming final consumers.

The price fixing of fuel just doesn’t hit drivers—everything that is dependent on road haulage is directly affected by such underhand collusion—food prices, heating, public transport costs—all are increased and the costs will always hit the poorest worst.

According to the Guardian, Lord Oakeshott, former Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, said:

the alleged rigging of oil prices was “as serious as rigging Libor” – which led to banks being fined hundreds of millions of pounds.

He demanded to know why the UK authorities had not taken action earlier and said he would ask questions of the British regulator in Parliament. “Why have we had to wait for Brussels to find out if British oil giants are ripping off British consumers?” he said. “The price of energy ripples right through our economy and really matters to every business and families.”

As yet, there is no fixed date for the conclusion of the EC investigation. Read the full story here.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Why the Libor Scandal is the most important story in the world



Posted by Paul Gallagher
09:24 am
David Quantick: ‘The music industry hates you’
04:32 pm


Smarter than your average bear, the multi-talented writer David Quantick recently popped up on BBC’s Newsnight Review to rattle cutlass with the Music Industry. 

Quantick is best known as the co-writer of the award-winning The Day Today, with Armando Iannucci and Steve Coogan, worked on Chris Morris’ Brass Eye, wrote and created the world’s first internet sitcom Junkies and most recently penned the rather excellent Miliband of Brothers for Channel 4.

In this short clip, pirate Quantick states:

The Music Industry is like the Mafia, but less efficient. And record industry executives are loud, nasty and bad for you like cocaine in human form. Remember the slogan ‘Home taping is killing music’? Well piracy isn’t the problem. What’s killing music is the Music Industry.

As Quantick points out, it’s about time these odious wastes of talent and their money grasping, hypocritical, fuckwit pop stars learned to live off a proper working wage. Just like most people do. It maybe a simplistic argument, but it cuts through the bull usually given out in defense of sheer naked greed.  And if the Muisc Biz and its popsters can’t live off what it makes, well, as Mr Q. says:

Let bands earn what they deserve to earn. Take pop music away from Simon Cowell and the 79p download sites, because if the Music Industry dies, then like child labor, corporal punishment, and James Blunt’s career, maybe it deserves to die.



Posted by Paul Gallagher
04:32 pm