Friday, September 25, 2015

COURT BANKING, M’LORD: ‘Unworkable’ register of judicial interests reveals top judges’ financial links to world of big money, insurance giants, vested interests & banks fined billions in plea deals with financial regulators

Register reveals judicial links to bank cartels & rate rigging. A REGISTER of judicial interests – described by Scotland’s former Lord President Lord Brian Gill & First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as being “unworkable” – has revealed financial links between some of Scotland’s top judges & banks fined by regulators for rigging international exchange rates, failure to report to regulators, and operating in cartels like “the mafia”.

The documents, released by the Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service in response to a Freedom of Information request – reveal the latest lists of shareholdings & interests of Scotland’s top judges - who are fighting to prevent the public from scrutinising their hidden wealth.

Also disclosed for the first time are the shareholdings of non judicial members who sit on the Scottish Courts Service Board (SCSB) – now renamed as the Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service Board (SCTSB) – the influential body which makes decisions on how the courts operate.

Among those who now feature in the register of interests for top judges who decide on court administration are new faces to the SCTS Board, including Lady Anne Smith – who was appointed head of the Tribunals by former top judge Lord Brian Gill.

The substantial declarations of shareholdings reveal judicial links to financial institutions such as JP Morgan – fined over foreign exchange & Libor rate rigging, Goldman Sachs – fined for reporting violations by US authorities & Barclays – who were fined a record £284.4 million by British regulators and around £1.5bn in total as part of a UK and US settlement with authorities over the foreign exchange trading scandal.

MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee are currently investigating a plan to create a register of judicial interests as called for in Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland's judiciary

If the judicial transparency proposal becomes reality, all members of Scotland’s judiciary - instead of just the elite few who sit on the board of the Scottish Courts - will be required to declare their vast and varied interests from membership of charities to undeclared paid work, property ownership, financial wealth and connections to big business & the legal profession among a host of details many in public life are already required to enter in declarations of interests.

JUDICIAL DECLARATIONS: ‘Unworkable’ register is very workable … and very revealing:

President of Scottish Tribunals - Rt Hon Lady Smith: Shareholdings: Artemis Fund Managers, Barclays, Blackrock AM, Brown Advisory, Goldman Sachs, Global Access, Henderson Investment, Ishares PLC, JP Morgan, Lazard Fund Managers, Pimco Global, Skandia Investment, Vanguard Funds PLC.

Lord Justice Clerk Lord Carloway: None, Sheriff Principal Duncan L Murray: None, Sheriff A Grant McCulloch: None significant, Dr Joseph Morrow: None

Sheriff Iona McDonald:  Glaxosmithkline, Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever, Equiniti, Barclays, Standard Life, HBOS, Royal Mail.

Johan Findlay OBE JP:  Aviva, Vodaphone, Santander, Unilever, Norwich Union, Legal & General, Fidelity Funds Network, Lloyds Banking Group, Thus Group, HBOS, Trafficmaster, Standard Life.

Eric McQueen: None, Dr Kirsty J Hood: None, Professor R Hugh MacDougall: None

Simon J D Catto: Aberdeen Football Club PLC, Scottish Power UK Plc, Royal Mail PLB.

Joe Al-Gharabally: RBS, Ryan Air, Aviva, AT&T.

Anthony McGrath: Accys Technology, Alexander Mining, Apple, Ashley House, Asian Citrus, Augean, Avanti Comms, Barclays Bank Bond, Billings Services, Camkids, Cell Therapeutics, Centamin, Chariot Oil, Chemring, Coal Of Africa, Consolidated General Minerals, Correro, Cupid, East West Resources, Emblaze, Essenden, e-Trade Financial, Fox Marble, Globo plc, Goldenport Holdings, Goldplat, Heritage Oil, HSBC Holdings, lmic, Infrastrata, Interpublic, Jubilee Platinum, Lloyds Banking, Magnolia Petroleum, Mobile Streams, Norseman Gold, Polo Resources, Pure Bioscience, Quindell, Reach4entertainment, Resource Holdings, Royal Bank of Scotland, Saltire Taverns, Stagecoach, Standard Charter, STV, Tanfield, Tower resources, Volga Gas, Westminster Group.

And, in further documents released by the Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service - the last snapshot of the Scottish Court Service Board (SCSB), reveals the final declaration of interests, directorships & shareholdings of Scotland’s now retired top judge Lord Brian Gill – who bitterly fought proposals to increase judicial transparency by creating a register of judicial interests.

SCSB Interests 2015. Lord President - Rt Hon Lord Gill: Director of Scottish Redundant Churches Trust, a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland (SC162884). President of the Royal Society for Home Relief to Incurable, Edinburgh Trustee of the Columba Trust: a trust for the benefit of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, Vice President of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland,Trustee of the Royal School of Church Music, a registered charity for the promotion of church music in the Christian Churches (Reg No 312828) Chairman of Council, Royal School of Church Music, Trustee of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Endowment Trust: a trust for the benefit of RCS and its students, Trustee of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Trust: a trust for the benefit of the RCS and its students, Director of the Royal School of Church Music, a company limited by guarantee registered in England (Reg'd No 250031)

Shareholdings: Henderson UK Growth Fund Retail Class Acc, Aviva Investors UK Equity Fund, Newton Global Equity Fund, Scottish Widows UK Growth Sub-Fund, HSBC Balanced Fund (Retail Acc), Royal Mail Plc,TSB Group Plc, Urban and Civil Plc, Vestry Court Ltd.

Hon Lord Bannatyne: Chester Street (Limited Partner) Ltd on behalf of the Board if the Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh Member of the Board of the Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh Shareholder as Trustee for the Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh, in Chester Street (General Partner) Ltd Member of the Clergy Disciplinary Tribunal of the Episcopal Church, Member of the Clergy Disciplinary Tribunal of the Episcopal Church.

Shareholdings: Dimensional Emerging Mkts Core Equity, Dimensional Global Short Date Bond, Dimensional Global Targeted Value, Dimensional UK Small Companies, Dimensional UK Value, Ishares FTSE EPRA UK Prop, L&G All Stocks Gilt Index, L&G All Stocks IL Gilt Index, L&G UK Index I, Vanguard FTSE D World ex-UK Equity Index.

Sheriff Principal R Alastair Dunlop QC: Chair of Local Criminal Justice Boards in Tayside Central and Fife,Commissioner of Northern Lighthouses, Elder of Gorebridge Parish Church of Scotland, Member of Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club, Member of the New Club, Edinburgh, Trustee of St John's Kirk of Perth Trust.

Shareholdings: Astrazeneca, BHP Billiton, Blackrock AM UK Gold & General, Bluescope Steel, BNY Mellon Newton Global, Carador Income Fund, CG Real Return Inc, Diageo, Findlay Park FDS American Smaller Cos, Intercontinental Hotels, Lomond Shipping Co, Lloyds Bank, M&G (Guernsey) Global Leaders, National Grid, Oakley Capital Investments, Pernod Ricard, Real Estate Credit Investors, Rio Tinto, Royal Bank of Scotland, Royal Dutch Shell, Scottish Oriental Smaller Cos, Tesco, Verizon Communications, Vodafone, Weir Group.

INTERESTS FOR REGISTER:

The proposal to require all members of the judiciary to declare their interests gained cross party support from msps during a debate on the petition - held at the Scottish Parliament on 7 October 2014, and reported along with video footage and the official record, here: Debating the Judges. MSPs overwhelmingly supported a motion urging the Scottish Government to create a register of judicial interests.

However, in an unprecedented intervention by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on behalf of the wealthy secretive elite judiciary who head Scotland’s courts, Ms Sturgeon attacked the idea of judicial transparency and plans to create a register of interest for judges.

The First Minister – herself a former solicitor - joined the now retired Lord President Lord Brian Gill in accusations of aggressive media & litigants – in an attempt to block the judicial transparency proposal. The First Minister also quoted the 73 year old former judge, backing his claim such a register – which revealed Gill’s own substantial interests – is “unworkable” and cannot possibly be applied to the entire judiciary.

The First Minister claimed in a letter to the Petitions Committee: The breadth of such a register would make it virtually unworkable. It would need to cover not only financial interests, but also memberships of groups and associations and familial and social relationships. Even so, such a register might not capture relevant issues that could arise.”

Ms Sturgeon continued: “The position of the judiciary is different from that of MSPs and others who hold public office. The judiciary cannot publicly defend themselves. The Lord President has cautioned that such a register could also have unintended consequences. Consideration requires to be given to judges' privacy and freedom from harassment by aggressive media or hostile individuals, including dissatisfied litigants. In addition, there is currently no evidence that judges who should have recused themselves from cases have not done so.”

Aside from legal vested interests ‘aggressive’ opposition to the judicial transparency plan, the proposal to require judges to declare their interests has powerful backing from judicial watchdogs.

Scotland’s first ever Judicial Complaints Reviewer (JCR) - Moi Ali supported the judicial transparency proposal during an evidence session held at Holyrood in September 2013.

In a letter to the Public Petitions Committee, Ms Ali told MSPs: The position of the judiciary is incredibly powerful. They have the power to take away people’s assets, to separate families, to lock people away for years. Some of these people will not have committed a crime. They may be women who want protection from abusing partners, fathers who want access to their children, or people whose home is at stake due to various legal or family wrangles. People going through the court system face stress and anxiety, perhaps financial pressures, and fear about the future. Their perspective is important and must be a consideration in this matter.

Ms Ali continued: “Given the position of power held by the judiciary, it is essential not only that they have absolute integrity but crucially, that they are seen to have absolute integrity. Again, a register of interests is a way of demonstrating that a judicial office holder is impartial and has no vested interest in a case –financially, through family connections, club/society membership or in any other way. Conversely, the refusal to institute a register of interests creates suspicion that in turn undermines judicial credibility. So once more, a register of interests is good for the judiciary and good for the public.”

Current JCR Gillian Thompson OBE gave further support for the plan to create a register of interests for judges during an evidence session at Holyrood in June 2015.

Multiple property ownership and interests in real estate, buy to let and property companies is big business for members of the judiciary and their family members – however there are no details or disclosures of any property directly owed by the SCS Board members contained in the declarations released by the SCS.

Additionally, the limited disclosures of SCS Board & SCTSB contain no references to outside earnings & work, relationships to law firms, big business and others more detailed declarations which may be picked up by a fully published register of judicial interests as is currently under investigation by the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee.

Previous articles on the lack of transparency within Scotland’s judiciary, investigations by Diary of Injustice including reports from the media, and video footage of debates at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee can be found here : A Register of Interests for Scotland's Judiciary

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmm no wonder Gill is so dead against your register of judges interests.I am sure you and anyone reading this realise there are potentially thousands of conflicts of interest going on in these declarations you published.No wonder they brought in Sturgeon with her panicky letter to the parly.

Anonymous said...

Not so unworkable after all,Nicola..

Anonymous said...

JP Morgan & Goldman Sacks!She can pick em!

Anonymous said...

You said yourself sometime ago the courts and judges are little more than some kind of a club for bankers.
Turns out you were correct all along.Frightening.

Anonymous said...

incredible what you wrote!and the evidence!all judges must be open about interests!

Anonymous said...

That must be one of the most limited registers of interest ever.A few non controversial directorships and some vague entries leading {I assume] to money and tax fiddling.Judges are wealthy.Where is the rest of it?Where is all the property the judges and their families own?Anyone know of a judge who lives in a run down shack at the end of the street?Nope!This is not limited to Scotland.It is about time all judges are required to declare their interests just as they force everyone else to declare in court.And when they are caught lying about it or covering up they have to face the same punishments of the law they throw around at everyone else.

Anonymous said...

To sum up

The playground bully gang of the judiciary who receive a tidy ransom for taking other childrens pocket money has finally been asked to reveal how much they are paid,own and what they take from the children.

No surprise the very same playground bully gang acts in a menacing manner and threatens to beat you up and anyone else (msps,newspapers,litigants,everyone) who shines a light on their activities.

Anonymous said...

What is so unworkable about a register of interests unless you have something to hide?
What is up with Sturgeon she has to interfere in this on behalf of the judicial mafia?
Doesnt she want us finding out all her judicial brigade have stakes in the banking mafia?
About time the Parliament passed this petition and investigate what the judges have been up to for the past 2 years by way of hiding all their ill gotten gains before having to register.

Anonymous said...

More to the point should anyone with such shareholdings be allowed onto a decision making body running our courts and how many times have they stepped aside if business decisions came up where it conflicted with their interests.

Anonymous said...

kinda shocking really for Scotland

Anonymous said...

I see the judges best pals in Qatar have lost billions over the Volkswagen emissions fiddle.Perhaps a clue as to why VW and most likely other car companies were/are allowed to get away with poisoning the planet,shady tax deals and so on for so long.

Just as in the same way when banks and lenders appear in court and win case after case against anyone they pick on - because the judges are their shareholders.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/car-manufacturers/volkswagen/11893484/Volkswagen-scandal-costs-Qatars-sovereign-wealth-fund-3.3bn.html

Volkswagen scandal costs Qatar's sovereign wealth fund £3.3bn
Qatar Holding hit hard by losses on German car maker stock market bets turn sour
By Andrew Critchlow, and John Ficenec
26 Sep 2015

The collapse in Volkswagen’s share price as a result of the widening emissions scandal has cost Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund more than £3.3bn, according to calculations seen by The Telegraph.

Qatar Holdings – a subsidiary of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) – is the third largest shareholder in the German car manufacturer, with a 17pc stake, after Porsche and the German state of Lower Saxony.

As a result of VW’s 34pc share price fall last week, more than €20bn (£14.7bn) has been wiped off the value of the car company.

In the last week alone Qatar Holdings has seen almost £2.8bn wiped off the value of its portfolio mainly due to losses in Volkswagen following the revelations that it had allegedly cheated US emissions tests for its diesel cars.

Qatar Holdings now holds a mixture of ordinary shares and preference shares in VW. Preference shares offer a higher return but have no voting rights in company management. Combined they have lost £3.3bn in Volkswagen so far this year, according to calculations.

The Qataris initially bought into the company through a complex deal in 2009 with Porsche, which involved the carmaker transferring most of its VW share options to Qatar Holdings.

The problems at VW are not Qatar’s only problems – the fund is sitting on paper losses approaching £7bn as a result of its variety of investments.

Anonymous said...

The rich protecting the rich at work here.Obviously the judiciary are rich and when the rich show up in court against the poor,the rich win and the judiciary win because they clearly now have so many vested interests it is impossible to separate them from the rich clubs and ludicrous for them to claim otherwise.
Bring on your register for judges interests.If Scotland has it the rest of the UK will have to fall into line.Go for it!

Anonymous said...

How do they get away with not registering their interests?and where are their properties or at least values?The judges dont live in tents do they?Probably not!How about money they receive for all the business they get up to?They dont sit around like monks after they leave court every day do they!
Barmy this has been allowed to go on so long!

Anonymous said...

JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs - no wonder Gill was fighting so hard against your petition

Anonymous said...

This is what they are disclosing,imagine how much they are holding back!£200,000 salaries a year for decades and just a few shares in some companies - it doesnt add up.They are hiding a lot and those politicians helping the judges hide it will have plenty dirty secrets of their own they are too afraid will be made public when the judges start playing dirty

Anonymous said...

The reasons stated by Moi Ali

"The position of the judiciary is incredibly powerful. They have the power to take away people’s assets, to separate families, to lock people away for years. Some of these people will not have committed a crime. They may be women who want protection from abusing partners, fathers who want access to their children, or people whose home is at stake due to various legal or family wrangles. People going through the court system face stress and anxiety, perhaps financial pressures, and fear about the future. Their perspective is important and must be a consideration in this matter."

are exactly why there must be a register for interests for the judiciary and not just in Scotland.

Anonymous said...

Your presentation of the evidence on judicial interests makes it very difficult if impossible to argue against a register.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

When did it become acceptable for judges to be in bed with the banks to this extent?Either complete madness or complete corruption this is allowed.What are people going to think now after reading this and all those cases day after day in the courts involving the banks running everyone out of their homes and guess what the judges are well into being happy shareholders of the same banks!!

Anonymous said...

After reading about Michelle Thomson and her 17 houses no wonder Sturgeon is trying to block transparency and stall registers of interest

Anonymous said...

Now it has come out doctors are being paid to keep people OUT of hospital it will only be a matter of time before we learn judges are being paid or allowed to do as they please as long as court cases go the way of vested interests.Stands to reason if you check out the levels of injustice in the courts every time someone goes up against a law or a big corporation who count judges among their happy investors.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11904082/How-your-GP-is-paid-to-stop-you-going-to-hospital.html

How your GP is paid to stop you going to hospital
Doctors are being offered financial incentives to reduce outpatient referrals, including two-week cancer waits and emergency admissions, study finds

Britain's GPs are the best paid in the industrialized world
There are concerns that the payments could be regarded as inducement if it was felt they had influenced a GP’s behaviour

By Victoria Ward, and Laura Donnelly
01 Oct 2015

Family doctors are being offered bonuses of thousands of pounds to reduce the number of cancer patients sent to hospital, an investigation has found.

GPs are being paid up to £11,000 to stay within targets for outpatient referrals and follow-ups, which can include two-week cancer waits and emergency admissions.

Critics last night called the payments “highly unethical” and “very concerning”. The General Medical Council (GMC) suggested they could be regarded as an inducement and warned doctors it could constitute a conflict of interest. The schemes are at odds with the recently announced NHS cancer strategy, which promised an 80 per cent increase in tests for cancers.

Justice Diary said...

@ 25 September 2015 at 17:20

Yes, lots of conflicts of interest, past & current.

@ 26 September 2015 at 10:59

Huge salaries, immense, unchallenged power and the cloak of 'judicial independence must be preserved' used to back up judicial tax dodging, undeclared earnings and links to big business .. not too difficult to conclude power is being abused and the lack of judicial transparency & accountability exploited for personal & financial gain.

@ 27 September 2015 at 14:04

Companies, Governments etc can get away with anything if a compromised judge can be relied upon to wave it through the courts or see it does not even reach court .

No independently policed register of judicial interests and the scale of the judiciary's hostility against one means this could be happening on a regular basis.

@ 28 September 2015 at 12:42

Hiding lots ... taking some of the top judges, their personal & family wealth is well into millions of pounds .. £2m properties in UK & around the world, offshore trusts, off the books meetings with big business & banks .. very interesting financial arrangements ... it is amazing, really.

Anonymous said...

I can see now why Gill refuses to show up at the parliament as these interests and shares are indefensible

Anonymous said...

Brave to put it mildly.This could have gone very wrong for you taking on the judges in this way.However the quality of your evidence and with press coverage you have proved your point beyond reasonable doubt and it is now time for the judges register of interests to be enacted into law.

Anonymous said...

You interviewing the judges on television about their finances - now that I WOULD like to see!!Gill and his cronies wouldn't stand a chance!

Anonymous said...

Good blog! Total eyeopener on the judges and courts!

Anonymous said...

The underlying revelation revealed by DOI's reports on the Petition for a Register of Judicial Interests, and the stubborn opposition it has met, is that the tactic of the SNP hierarchy is clear;

Delay, delay, and delay again...........and hope it goes away!

Anonymous said...

the judges must follow their colleagues investing habits and many of these companies will be in and out of the courts all the time and nothing is said about it how convenient

Anonymous said...

hmm as you say the judiciary are very well connected with the banks and other institutions who are doubtless parading in front of their investors without anyone having the foggiest about who owns what (or who)

Well done you for publishing the lot!

Anonymous said...

Presentation of the evidence is second to none.
Judicial register is a must.

Anonymous said...

INVESTORS IN CROOKS!

Anonymous said...

Had a thought about this.
The companies who are listed in these shareholdings are bound to know who exactly their investors are and what they do for a living.
A company such as a bank playing the markets and fiddling rates could use the influence of judges to get them off the hook when caught out for rate rigging and so on.
Looks like it just happened this way because no bankers jailed for all the rate rigging,just a collection of weak fines they will end up clawing back from customers.
Good to have a judge as shareholder eh

Anonymous said...

I like that petition of yours!

Diary of Injustice said...

26 October 2015 at 23:47

It looks that way ... Several members of the judiciary have connections to companies they also own shares in, appear to have attended meetings according to source, and those same companies appear to have earned foreign contracts after tagging along on the judicial air miles circuit ...

@ 29 October

With regard to two unpublished comments the information provided will be investigated for publication.

Anonymous said...

no wonder they are fighting your register so bad because of their banking friends!!

Anonymous said...

WTH?? how can this be they are allowed to have all these shares in the same banks who are kicking people out of their homes every day helped by the same courts and judges!

Anonymous said...

Impressive post
Impressive blog

Anonymous said...

Judges have used their elite position for years to bully their critics and intimidate anyone from pointing out the obvious that this unelected unaccountable elite must be subject to the same laws as the rest of us