Big Banks Hiring Former Spies To Snoop On Employees

Thursday, February 18, 2016
By Paul Martin

By Everett Numbers
FEBRUARY 17, 2016

At risk of being fined for individual acts of illegal trades or speculation, the biggest banks are deploying surveillance tactics not far off from ones used by the government in the war on terrorism.

Every move bank employees make is likely being monitored by former military intelligence or CIA and GCHQ members, or even computer algorithms, according to a Bloomberg report based on interviews with“more than a dozen recruiters, bank executives and compliance officers.”

HSBC, Deutsche Bank, and JP Morgan Chase & Co. were listed among the too-big-to-fail banks monitoring everything from cigarette breaks to text message metadata. In a January interview, Deutsche Bank Co-Chief Executive Officer John Cryan told Bloomberg the business of banking was being balanced with new policing duties necessary for preventing heavy regulatory fines.
“We want to be able to identify any potential issues before they turn into anything troubling,” Bryon Linnehan, a veteran military intelligence officer who honed his skills in Iraq for two years before joining Barclays last May, told Bloomberg.

Last year, Barclays was fined $2.2 billion for its role in the Libor scandal, where six banks manipulated foreign exchange rates. Total fines for all the institutions involved amounted to nearly $6 billion.

Chris Mathers, a former Canadian police officer turned bank consultant, sees “the regulator” as “the biggest threat to banks today, the absolute biggest threat,” according to Bloomberg.

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