The chief executive of JP Morgan, the world’s biggest bank, wrote in his annual letter to the bank’s shareholders that Brexit ‘cannot possibly’ be a positive for the UK economy in the short-term, and warned that the bank may eventually move all of its European operations out of London.
Jamie Dimon added that in the next few years, Brexit would ‘damage’ the UK’s gross national product. ‘The effect after that will be completely based upon whether the United Kingdom has a comprehensive and well executed strategic plan that is acceptable to Europe.’
The last-minute Brexit trade deal agreed between the UK and EU in December only covered goods, not services. According to Dimon, ‘uncertainties linger particularly around financial services,’ as reported in Yahoo Finance.
The result is that the European Union is urging banks to move resources and jobs into the bloc to comply with new regulations. Dimon warned that JP Morgan’s 12,000 staff in London may be transferred out of the UK to Europe as Paris, Frankfurt, Dublin and Amsterdam grow in importance.
There will be few winners from this looming fragmentation of banking, he wrote, ‘which would lead to higher costs for customers.’
As with many bank bosses, Jamie Dimon has consistently warned that Brexit would be bad for Britain’s financial services sector. In the run up to the 2016 referendum, he said that JP Morgan could be forced to move jobs out of London if Britain voted to leave.
‘London is a magnificent place to do business and has the ‘opportunity to adapt and reinvent itself,’ he added. ‘Innovation is key to preparing for doing the business of tomorrow versus relying on the shifting ways of the past.’
Operation Jihadi Bride
In 2019, I wrote ‘Operation Jihadi Bride with ex-British soldier John Carney. The book tells the story of his eighteen months working with three Kurdish special forces soldiers trying to bring disillusioned jihadi brides back to Europe.
During my research, I learned that the majority of Islamic State’s wealth came from the clandestine sale of oil, gas and chemicals on the international market using smuggling routes set up during the years of embargoes against Saddam Hussein.
With heroin trafficked from Afghanistan over the ancient silk routes through Islamic State to the west, a business worth up to $1 billion a year, the terrorists bankrolled Boko Haram and brother jihadists based in north-eastern Nigeria.
With money flooding into its treasury, ISIS rose in three years from a gang of killers and petty criminals to a multi-billion dollar nation state with its own flag, hierarchy, clergy, effective bureaucracy and fanatical supporters.
As the tide of war turned against ISIS, while its commanders sent its loyal troops on suicide missions, the bankers and bureaucrats were quietly slipping across the border to Antakya, in Southern Turkey, with bags full of cash.
Antakya was known in ancient times as Antioch, for centuries one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire. Today, it is a maze of congested narrow streets with batteries of faceless accountants who, during the coalition struggle against ISIS, worked with City of London bankers and lawyers to invest Islamic State’s billions in shell companies based in financial havens on island paradises across the world.
There was nothing odd or unusual in this. It is what the South American drug cartels and the Italian, Russian and Albanian mafias do. It’s what the international corporations and internet giants do. It is what the rich, famous, titled and our own politicians do.
The United States and western governments did not want Islamic State to conceal its ill-gotten gains in the black holes of the universal financial system, but the system is set up in such a way that it is impossible to stop. London has always been ‘a magnificent place to do business,’ Jamie Dimon wrote in his newsletter and ‘relying on the shifting ways of the past’ is what the people who voted for Brexit wanted.
ISIS money found its way into legitimate businesses, hedge funds and pension funds, digital accounts, crypto currencies and the traditional criminal outlets, drugs, human slavery, prostitution, people smuggling. The jihadis could justify the corruption and perversion of the Quran as a holy enterprise. The corruption and perversion of the banking and tax system in Britain is far harder to accept.
John Carney in ‘Operation Jihadi Bride’ predicted that Islamic State had $9 billion hidden in secret shell companies and would rise again in Africa. He also predicted that terrorist action will turn the non-stop trickle off immigrants and refugees from Africa into a constants gushing tide. Just what the Brexiteers didn’t vote for.