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Tower of Basel

The Shadowy History of the Secret Bank that Runs the World

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Description

Tower of Basel is the first investigative history of the world's most secretive global financial institution. Based on extensive archival research in Switzerland, Britain, and the United States, and in-depth interviews with key decision-makers—including Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve; Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England; and former senior Bank for International Settlements managers and officials—Tower of Basel tells the inside story of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS): the central bankers' own bank.

Created by the governors of the Bank of England and the Reichsbank in 1930, and protected by an international treaty, the BIS and its assets are legally beyond the reach of any government or jurisdiction. The bank is untouchable. Swiss authorities have no jurisdiction over the bank or its premises. The BIS has just 140 customers but made tax-free profits of 1.17 billion in 2011–2012.

Since its creation, the bank has been at the heart of global events but has often gone unnoticed. Under Thomas McKittrick, the bank's American president from 1940–1946, the BIS was open for business throughout the Second World War. The BIS accepted looted Nazi gold, conducted foreign exchange deals for the Reichsbank, and was used by both the Allies and the Axis powers as a secret contact point to keep the channels of international finance open.

After 1945 the BIS—still behind the scenes—for decades provided the necessary technical and administrative support for the trans-European currency project, from the first attempts to harmonize exchange rates in the late 1940s to the launch of the Euro in 2002. It now stands at the center of efforts to build a new global financial and regulatory architecture, once again proving that it has the power to shape the financial rules of our world. Yet despite its pivotal role in the financial and political history of the last century and during the economic current crisis, the BIS has remained largely unknown—until now.

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 08, 2013 – Budapest-based journalist and literary critic Lebor (Hitler s Secret Bankers) offers a critical history of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), a complex financial enterprise founded in 1930 and located in Basel, Switzerland, that serves the world s central banks. Claiming access to new sources and insider information, Lebor exposes the wheeling, dealing, and often nefarious activities of global investment bankers. The book explores the massive capital movements worldwide before and after WWII that anticipated today s globalized economy, and highlights the bank s relationship to both Nazi Germany and postwar Germany. Lebor calls the BIS today an opaque, elitist, and anti-democratic institution, out of step with the twenty-first century. Though this lively account too often resorts to the incriminating tone of investigative reporting, the historical and contemporary power of the secretive BIS will surprise and alarm readers. While the BIS s past deeds are gamy and its operations today are shadowy, central banking mechanisms and international monetary networks exist for good reasons. As one of the bankers interviewed suggests, the BIS could serve an important future role in keeping the euro intact.
Tower of Basel
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Industries & Professions
  • Published: May 28, 2013
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Seller: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Print Length: 360 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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