Fakery is now everywhere
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This letter has been written as part of the Financial Times’ ‘Letters to the New World’ brand campaign, which calls on those in our global community to inspire each other around what this new world should and could look like
Recently there has been a steady supply of outrageous behaviour needing public exposure. The FT’s investigations unit has not been short of subject matter, from sleazy antics to wonky finances.
Our efforts to bring down the German mega-fraud Wirecard have highlighted a particularly concerning aspect of these manic times. Too many people in power and at the top of the financial world appear wilfully blind to criminal behaviour.
There’s a generation that came of ‘business’ age during the dot comedy 20 years ago. The lesson they learnt was that you could become fabulously rich by faking it. This cohort includes Wirecard’s COO Jan Marsalek and Elizabeth Holmes of fraudulent blood-testing company Theranos.
Today, as regulators dither on the sidelines, the wider financial sector is choc-a-block with greed-driven investors of all shapes and sizes. We are in an age of fantasy, where millions of people believe crypto “money” and stock market “value” can be created out of thin air, and somehow enjoy enduring worth. Others gorge on a seemingly limitless flow of central bank largesse.
Fakery is now everywhere, regulation has failed and so Wirecard will not be the biggest collapse of this nutty era. Much more is to come.
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A complete return to life as it was would be devastating by Pilita Clark
Brace yourself. Or, more accurately, log on by Gillian Tett
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