Tag Archives: boiler room

Kweku Adoboli / UBS/ The week review

23 Nov

UBS weak link Kweku Adoboli, saw himself star down the barrel of a 7 stretch this week in a dock once graced by I, at Southwark Crown Court.

Having already served over  a year of his sentence, he must now while away another 2 and a half years, although come the summer he will be allowed to begin home and town leaves. Quite how devious or truly criminal he is, is a topic that has been left in the calm, hysteria free hands of the  The Sun, The Mirror and the Daily Mail.

For many outside of the City of London, this was one of a number of obvious calamities still being committed by the arrogant swaggering bowler hat types.

Is Kweku really a criminal in the true caricature style we associate them with? His swag bag seemed a little empty for a man who is accused of a £1.4 billion fraud; for this isn’t a fraud with the intention to steal £1.4 billion, merely corporate financial manslaughter, where a sledgehammer was being used to crack nuts. What does 7 years buy you in other walks of life?

7 years is the average total sentence of Rapists in the UK.

7 years allows you to kill a man driving dangerously with intent.

7 years allows you to stab a man in the neck with a bottle for GBH.

Kweku will serve 7 years for doing his job badly in an environment where blind eyes were turned when the money came in.

Perhaps those blind eyes should too be punished, for creating the conditions and culture where deceit, and smokes and mirrors are employed.

As is likely, UBS will see no more criminal imprisonments amongst their staff. They will pay large fines and duck down below the parapet again for a number of years, before the next cataclysmic economic asteroid rocks the financial capitals of the World; where they hope their mistakes are the least and they can join the queue without making regulatory eye contact.

In the meantime Kweku will don the green trousers of a prison orderly, tamed –  for now.

I walk the streets of London once again, but these days my attire is a little more blue collar. My hands have paint and the callouses upon my palms are no more a Cityboy’s than they are a writer’s. Time moves every bit as fast once more, I wish I had some time to stop and reflect upon my life. A one year sabbatical seems a nice idea again 🙂

 

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The Diary Ebook – Amazon Release : Prison Diary of a Stockbroker

19 Nov

For those who fancy reading the prison diary ebook, it is now available on Amazon Kindle at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Banker-Bang-Up-ebook/dp/B00A9VGUP4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353365555&sr=8-1

There are a few bits extra forming an expanded foreword.

I shall be penning more on the life of the young broker in the New Year, I hope it is as well read as the prison blog. Thank you for all your feedback and comments and continue to welcome communication from those seeking advice.

Buy the Amazon Version of the prison diary

The End of Time

11 Jun

My names on the board for release…I’m told by Paul, an Orderly for the Offender Management  Unit.

 

“When’s your release date?” He asks.

 

“Monday” I tell him.

 

“Well you’ll only be a couple of days after that at worse – you just need another Governor’s signature”

 

Oh great and there’s me worrying I won’t get out on time.

To think the only thing stopping me from being released and going home to my family, is a member of staff writing their name.

 

Before leaving Ford, I decide to tie up some loose ends and make an appointment to see the Dentist after a knock to my face sees me with a loose tooth. Not something I’ve experienced since my childhood and I doubt tooth fairies get through reception here.

 

I try to book an emergency Dental appointment, but I get to see neither a Doctor nor a Dentist – I get a ‘Gordon’. Who or what a Gordon is I am unsure precisely, but I suspect he is little more than an eminently qualified hospital porter who just happens to have lived a life of wide-ranging bizarre and medically interesting episodes. In reality he is a filter for those seeking to waste the time of Healthcare and perhaps opt out of work for the day, but for a week of free treatment remaining I can do without this avenue. Unsurprisingly, he has no valid input for me regarding my dental concerns, as you would expect of a man no more a Dr, than David Tennant. I take two paracetamol; call home and book an appointment with my local surgery.

 

A week flicks by and George has set off on his first home leave. He has secured a single cell and I await my final day in prison. I’ve kept up with my writing and R and I are as strong as ever. Regular visits, time together and a devotion to the simple somewhat forgotten pleasure of a handwritten note have done us proud.

 

Written September 20 – 2011

“I love you.

My love diminishes nothing, yet reaffirms itself everyday.

And everyday I only know one thing for sure – you are exactly right for me.

Only you can be my complete companion.

How I miss you and how it’s hurt.

It feels so long this time apart but its medicated in the knowledge that thee WILL be a time I can sit by your side, hold your hand and look you in the eye.

Then I shall say to you, the next time I leave you for so long, throw a single rose upon my coffin – because I shall be yours’ for life.”

………………………………………..

Today is the day I had expected to step out the front gate – alas the celebration has been delayed by a day. I can cope and am busied by doing my ‘paperchase’. That elusive administrative milestone that I too now look upon as a right of passage. My kit returned, I do my goodbyes.

 

Spending time with some of the faces whose company I’ve genuinely enjoyed, I finish my evening doing one final prison workout with my buddy Jamie. Little more than 12 hours from release, I finish my sentence in the way I began it. A pen in hand, I write away the hours. I’m pleased I’ve logged and diarised my every day. I wonder if I will look back over this some time in the future. Maybe a lonely old man sat in a musty, dusty lounge, I shall occupy my time by reading this again. I wonder if I shall reach the last passage before the end truly arrives. I wonder how different my life will be and what will I think to the time I spent away. Will it matter, will it impact, or will it be another little adventure in a life filled with stories?

For the last evening, a prisoner in an HMP, I am offender A2292CE, The Disgraced Banker. Tomorrow my life starts again………..

New Year’s Eve Party in Prison

9 Jun

Today HMP Ford becomes a Bang-Up again. I and other’s here experience closed conditions for what I hope is only 24 hours. The bosses at Ford have had a perimeter fence laid out inside the main boundary fence. Like a camp within a camp. Side gates have been locked and the Front Entry Gates drawn to a close. Ford Prison has been locked down – a repeat of last year’s Booze fueled arson rampage is feared.

I spot all of the Governor’s at some stage today. Any disturbances and the Senior Governor will be starting 2012 with P45 in hand. In fact, it surprised many that she survived the last episode here.

I spend my day bring the New Year in blowing my nose – my cold I picked up at Christmas has not yet gone, although my stock of tissues is close to being so.

If I’m honest, I’ve never really enjoyed New Year’s Eve, too much of an anti-climax for me. Still at least I can be sure prison will not be on my mind in 12 months hence. Missing the parties associated with today doesn’t make me feel low, I’ll probably grab an early night. This is NOT a sign of things to come 🙂 Tomorrow, I can say the words:

“I’m home this month”

Channel 4 has slapped on a cheery portion of:

Porridge – The Movie

The Deputy Governor, sticks his nose around the door, part of their visible presence strategy (In most other places, that’s called turning up for work), his sidekick pops in shortly after. We share a joke about the Porridge Movie, he says he’s glad it’s not on; he is the spitting image of Mr Mckay. Better still, his name is Roger Moore; it’s possibly why I like him. A press journalist from the Sun, sneaked into the prison last year – not a hard feat when you never see Screws; Mr McKay notes that this active Governor strategy may be just in case one has popped in to visit again.

Nothing else happens, except for the distant sounds of fireworks and parties in the local area. The prison carries on as normal.

 

NEW YEAR 2012

The home straight, I’m going home this month!

I start the new year in the gym, taking part in a circuit session run by an inmate who works in the PE Dept. A boxing fan like I, his circuits are a tough challenge and later in the day, takes me for a Pads session, with some focus mitts that have been snuck in by a now departed resident. With the prison on lockdown, the visit sessions are used for extra gym time. A decent compromise, when there is little else to do but lay in my bed. I look on at the calendar for quite  a time. A long time actually. A bit more than 4 weeks to go, I hope these days fly by.

Then life can start again.

Comedy Club

9 Jun

Boxing Day

I was never so aware as today, quite how many animation movies run on our tv over the Christmas period. The prison breakfast is gradually running shorter each day of available items, such that I expect a right hook on the final day from the kitchen staff, instead of a warm dish.

Today’s insomniacal boredom is punctuated by a ‘Strongman’ competition, contested by only 4 inmates. Given the braggadocio within these barbed wire fences, it surprises me so few are willing to prove their physical prowess. Perhaps talking about it is less strenuous, or maybe they are taking a winter break from being ‘Gangsta’. In other avenues of occupation, George obliterates the rowing record on the 2000m by 20 seconds. I was sure at one point I could literally see him developing a body wide hernia.

Team ‘Going for Gold’ also made a long awaited return to the prison quiz after many weeks of sitting it out due to what is best termed as: A decline in standards. A change in atmosphere at what was once an enjoyable, sedate and high brow evening; saw the introduction of easier questions to equal the standards so the quiz was more inclusive. Not wishing to seat myself on any intellectual pedestal, (Mine would be only half elevated I assure you) but isn’t the whole concept of a quiz, to determine who has a better spread of knowledge or grasp of a particular area? To dumb down the standard of questions kind of panders to the stupid. A stupid idea for stupid people. I like to think that a halfway functional human being can come away from a quiz after a poor performance and think:

“Hey, you know what? Maybe I should read more – I’m not as smart as those other chaps.”

Instead the mindset here must be:

“Hey, those questions were beyond my limited knowledge range, this is a fundamentally unfair system, that rewards those who make the effort to learn. I’m demanding the questions are made easier.”

For those people, perhaps a raffle may suit their insecure sense of self-worth. Like a quiz, but with no questions. You simply need to turn up and hold a ticket. Or steal one, if that suits those here more.

Back to the quiz, I don’t want to dwell on a result that I had initially thought saw us taking away free phone credit. Instead we placed in that position made famous by British sportsmen and women throughout the years. 4th.

Yes, a BRAVE 4th.

Andy Murray, Paula Radcliffe, Bobby Robson’s Heroes, Terry Venable’s Heroes, a bit more Radcliffe and probably a lot of white British 1500m runners.

The billet has turned into a bombsite over Christmas, a cleaner with an altogether different take on personal hygiene is ‘running’ things nows. The screws don’t do spot checks, so we have to live in squalor. Making matters worse, we have a phantom sh*tt*r  operating also right now. I believe it ‘s just the one, I don’t think these people work in teams. Parcels of human excrement keep turning up on the floor of the bathroom. Maybe it’s a statement to the cleaner, to start doing his job.

NYE

On it’s way is the first anniversary of the Great Fire of Ford Prison. The Riots, as they have been dubbed. The governor and screws are panicking that this year will see a repeat of last year’s events, despite the prison being made up of entirely different people…

I look forward to seeing how this day pans out.

Christmas Day in Prison – Scrooge to be Screwed

6 Jun

After a sleep disturbed by midnight Gangsta Rap and my own snoring, I awake to a warm Christmas Day. A cooked breakfast of sorts has been arranged for the next 3 days, so I grab mine at 8 before joining in with a 10am circuit down at the gym. It’s what you do Christmas morning, yes?

The big lunch is only a mild improvement on a usual Sunday ‘Roast’ – the one parsnip making that differential leap. Definitely ALL of the trimmings. 🙂 I don’t expect Claridges and many of my gripes or comments are tongue in cheek. At the end of the Servery queue, the Chapel staff hand out a Christmas card and a mars bar on behalf of the ‘Mother’s Union’. A lovely gesture by the charity that strives to help inmates maintain family ties while inside. It promotes a cheery smile too.

I’m smiling. This is my first and hopefully only Christmas in prison and part of me has a macabre fascination to go through with it to see what it’s like for those less fortunate in decision-making in society that go through such experiences. A handful of chaps from our billet who are united by military ties and a sense of sanity, sit down together for the meal, having made the effort to wear civvy clothes and stay out of prison issues for the day. It’s nice to spend the day in a manner that reflects freedom of choice and expression, as best possible given the circumstances.

The phone in the billet is busy early in the day as prisoners call home, whisper sweet nothings or return to form and yell at their spouses. George has to deal with an inmate who feels that his own Christmas Tupac message should be able to filter through to George’s mother via the background noise on the phone. Even on days such as today, it’s alarming how many people lack self-awareness or possess a consideration for others when it comes to noise or in fact any aspect of life.

Is this education? Parenting?

Whatever it is, it strikes back to that sense of entitlement that society seems to harbour more and more in recent decades. Agitation grows over George’s riposte to the lairy adolescent with music at such volume. Our Grandparent’s queued for fruit, lost school friends in ‘Just Wars’ and were thankful for hand-me-down clothing. Our generation and it’s offspring, cannot envision a time without convenience, luxury or their opinion being heard. The cries of the few are heard over the tolerant silence of the many.

Don’t listen to angry music and delude yourself that the lyrics of a commercially minded businessman are anything other than that. He plays to an audience that thinks they’re kindred spirit, he lies for you to buy. The reality is, your fellow man is all around you and looks nothing like you imagine. Aim high but don’t tread on another to get there, the footings are weak.

Don’t daydream for a decade or double to realise you didn’t make hay while the sun shone. The wannabes in prison exist in the droves as they do on the outside. Year after year spent wishing for  a life of someone else, when all the tools you needed to make your own could be had too. 20 years later you wished you’d learnt that trade, that craft, that skill, that profession. Biggie didn’t wear a boiler suit and mend central heating systems, but Biggie got shot dead and my plumber’s got pots of cash. Smell the coffee boys and come back to the real world.

The notion of knuckling down and putting up with the hand that God gave you, seems to be disappearing as fast as the faces of World War veterans on Remembrance Sundays. Life isn’t always glamorous and life isn’t always fair but if we don’t start living for what we have and making the best use of it we can, then it will pass you by and that will be your time over.

Next stop, you and I are disparate atoms lingering in the void of cold dark space after the Sun has ceased burning and the Earth has stopped living. The galaxies merge and neighbouring stars die too. Billions of years pass by and we are in the infinite nothingness of the Big Freeze. Cosmologists and Astronomers will tell you we are insignificant in all of this. Maybe we are, but I’d like to think that even if our generation’s existence can be measured as a fraction of one heartbeat of a single human lifetime, at least let it be a beat that shows signs of a cathartic, energetic and fulfilling pump of life and not a whimper or trifling whine. Life truly is too short to waste idle.

Philosophical rant over, it’s not unsurprising that if an inmate can’t think how a neighbour might be disturbed by their activity, you hear they wound up in prison after failing to spot a policeman quite overtly monitoring them.

Christmas Day over, touchwood, I’ll never need to spend another 25th of December considering the prospect of Prison.

 

ROTL – Town Leave – 12th December

2 Jun

ROTL Day. Release on Temporary License Day.

6 months of prison sees me finally allowed a day release.

6 months of minimal sensory stimulation creates a ‘to-do’ list of an awful lot of sugary related tasks.

I wake up at 6am with a sense of nervous anticipation, that I can only compare somewhat bizarrely to the reciprocal day 6 months before. Back then, my day of sentencing left me feeling very similar. Creeping around in the dark of the cell and billet, my triple bag of coco pops for breakfast sets my stall for the days nutritional regime. One that goes on to include:

Giant Buttons

Banoffee Flapjack

Fruit Pastilles

Quorn Scotch Eggs

Gallons of Diet Coke

10oz Burger and Fries

Dorito Chilli Heat Wave

2 Pieces of Garlic Cheese Bread

1 slice of Fruit Cake

Rocky Road Cake

Carrot Cake

And a very large Banoffee Sundae from Harvester to share. Very large may not be the words to do it full justice. Grandiose would be more apt.

As the sugar rush subsides in the evening, I feel very ill indeed.

As the morning bell teases to toll, I am already creeping from hut to hut, avoiding being spotted by roaming guards. The bell rips through the silent morning air, and I’m covering the last few yards at double time. The knowledge of waiting family outside and my princess, who by now has visited me every week and continues to write daily – stands there too; is all I have mused over for such a long time. As I am allowed through reception, a screw tells me a little lady is waiting across the road for me. My R.

I step out into the morning, it’s different from a normal stroll across the road to our working regime; this time I’m going out of sight and the time’s my own. One whole day of everything I want to do and with the people I love most.

……………………………………………..

I use the day to catch up with some PERSONAL admin, call my probation officer, saunter around the shops in Seaford before getting caught in a squall and simply enjoying being close to loved ones. I try to bring back a couple of magazines and a pair of binoculars for star-gazing on my return, but am halted and instead have to hand them back out to my waiting family. The excitement of relaying my day’s adventures to my billet mates causes me to forget to sign back into the prison via one of the excessive return procedures. A few screw’s noses are put out of joint as they imagine another first time day tripper has done a runner. I am threatened with an Incentive’s Warning for ‘my behaviour’. I take the telling off on the chin, I’ve done far worse today.

Back at the ranch, I’m shattered and an early night is called for.

Part 2 – His and Her’s Tale. His Tale

1 Jun

His Tale:

51/2 months down, more than 6 since I’ve seen her last. I wake up nervous, my stomach filled with butterflies, today is the day I’ve dreamed of.

I keep myself occupied with a visit to the gym, setting  a new 30 minute distance row PB, 7631m. I see myself making improvements in personal fitness, it means my time here is not entirely a waste.

I have little appetite as my mind is focused on a date with destiny. I wonder where she will be sat, will she find it okay? What will she be wearing? What will we talk about? Will she cry? Will I cry?

So many thoughts drift, well, race across my mind as the minutes tick by.

I kill the hour before the visit deciding what to wear, showering and making sure I look as good as a man can whilst being in prison. I fear she will see something less than she has in me, in visiting me today. For the first time, a sense of shame crosses me as I think about my whereabouts. She is this travelled, articulate, intelligent and unique creature. Special in so many ways. I am a prisoner, stripped of liberty and often times dignity.

She tasted foods until recently from the magical east and the Orient; I queue up for mine with a plastic bowl. I know my worries are likely ill-founded, R would love me still even if I wore orange overalls today. It’s her best quality of all. She makes Mase feel young and wanted; she get’s my humour and inspires creativity within me, when other’s have only stifled it. My feet are shuffling and my knees are bouncing. I can;t take my mind off my anxieties: “Why am I so nervous?” I tell a friend who knows about my visit.

“MASON” is called out by a screw on duty, I scamper off to the visit’s hall so I am as near to the front as possible. I don’t want to lose a minute with this girl who waits for me.

As I walk through the door to the side of the hall, I am patted down by a guard and then look ahead of me.

Slightly to my side, my eyes lock on to the most beautiful sight, I can’t believe what I can see. It has been so long and yet I see nothing but the very best of that person I said goodbye to at the airport all those months ago. More beautiful than ever, tanned, lithe and running toward me at a concerning pace. She flies into my arms and wraps herself around me. It is all I can do to keep myself on my feet. In that moment of power blessed with her affection, she crashed into me and holds me close; as I hold her the same.

I feel like I’ve been set free.

I could be acquitted.

I could have been found not guilty.

I feel every emotion that equates to happiness. Today is marked down as one of the happiest days of my life.

When you have nothing but emotion, no material obstructions and no insincerity, you can find  a piece of true beauty, true euphoria that even drugs cannot deliver. In losing my freedom, I have tasted what it is to truly feel liberty. You may never envy my location, my whereabouts, my happenings and my failings but I will never envy your lives if I could go a lifetime without an experience that I shared with her today.

I spend the next two hours, nervous, giggling and an inch from the prettiest nose on earth. Tomorrow she comes again, I’ll sleep like a child waiting for Santa.

His and Her’s tale

1 Jun

Her Tale:

My heart is beating so fast, I can feel every single note. Every beat draws time closer to that one moment.

One second closer, two, five….

I think of the last time I was this nervous. My driving test, opening my results letters or waiting to hear what happened to my Masey in my absence.

In those times, as it is for me now; my palms are sweaty, anxiety rips through my very being.

I’m agitated by the woman next to me, loudly telling her children they aren’t having sweets.

I’m agitated by the two men talking at length and at volume about their plans tomorrow.

I’m agitated.

I’m hot and my pulse is racing.

There is a fear within me. A fear I dare not profess to anyone but my own inner demon. I’m scared, I’m scared if it’s not the same.

Finally, the doors open and I’m allowed to walk through with the other visitors into a large square room, tables, chairs and a booth for food at the end. I take in nothing else but my thoughts.

I choose two seats that are together. I sit and I wait.

I wait a little longer

5 more minutes pass and men begin to shuffle through a door at the top of the hall. My attention is on nothing else but that door. Behind that door lies my hopes, my dreams and my future.

Or it crushes them.

THERE HE IS!

I see him, I run.

I run

I jump.

His arms are around me and I’m overcome with emotion AND love. I’m back in his arms.

 

Cage Fighter Caged in a different life could be in London 2012 Rowing Team

31 May

I stay up late the previous night watching Scorcese’s Departed. Quality movie, but it leaves me sleepy the following morning. I go to bed pretty early these days, its the best way to get the day done. In the gym the next morning is a Cage Fighter and convicted drug trafficked Ken. A mammoth of  a fella and despite his warrior like appearance is very down to earth, respectful and approachable too. A former professional fighter, we strike up conversation over last night’s boxing. He hasn’t been here long and as I sit down to knock out a sedate 10km on the rowing machine, he plonks himself down next to me and obliterates the prison 1 minute distance test. I can only compare his output as an angry speedboat disrupting a leisurely Sunday afternoon’s canal barging. He takes a look at the other times on the different time trial leaderboards and comments casually:

“I’ll get a little fitter and I’ll see if I can beat those.”

Time proved his statement. He ends up holding the 2000m record. Watching the split times he produces in his rowing, they are phenomenal. The man is built for power and perhaps if life had thrown him a different hand, or had he been brought up in a more Tory environment, he could have been competing at an elite level with an oar in his hand.

Instead his life is shaded by organised crime and being paid to punch and kick.

Tall, broad and thickset, it’s funny how many would-be gold medal winners pass life by, completely ignorant to the sporting prowess they possess. I say ignorant, perhaps ‘unknowing’ is a more accurate description. Ignorant would be unfair. Ken, as a I shall call him should be sat in a boat on the Thames come July 2012. He will watch from Prison instead – sliding doors.

George has acquired some washing lines and erected a spider web around our ceiling. It is now our primary means of laundry. I admire his handiwork and listen to my Spurs beat Liverpool. Clarence, spends the day with his earplugs in, so he can enjoy Match of the Day in blissful ignorance. I know the score, I know he owes me biscuits, I see him before the highlights show and hold a straight face. Bless him, he is still confident of winning.

…………………………..

Day 99 arrives and is notable for the fact that it is day 99. More books arrive from R, I’ve got enough now, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get through all I have even with more time whacked onto my sentence.

Day 100 arrives and I feast on a little banquet of treats I purchased knowing this moment was coming. Diet Coke, wine gums, dates and OLIVES. The latter item, I had repeatedly flirted with buying but was put off as it seems a little OTT, ostentatious. But readers, NOW is definitely the time for Olives. As prison milestones go, 100 days is pretty big for me. In two weeks, I am at my halfway point and two after that I can apply for my first home leave.

I settle down for the evening, armed to the teeth with artificial sweeteners.

…………………………..

My 94 year old nan visits me today, the screws even hold doors open for her. That is the first time I’ve seen civility from them here. They may not show a lot of courtesy here, but they did today when it mattered. That ticked the box for me. Touched.

With my Nan came my parents, always a pleasure and these days I feel infinitely closer to them than I have ever been. I am the first to admit that this bad hand I’ve been dealt with is a blessing in disguise.

A new fella in the billet Ben strikes up a conversation. Just arrived here from a closed nick in Kent, he is on a 7 stretch. First impressions are that he has OCD but a good humour too. His cellmate is old enough to be his Dad, they make for an odd couple but it’s nice to get chatting to some new faces.

An ex screw is protesting out the front of the prison today over unfair dismissal or some nonsense due to a stress related injury. The gates are locked up and the local media are alerted. Inmates watch on vaguely interested but with a distinct lack of sympathy.

The World’s Stock Markets are again facing certain doom, I however am tackling a tougher issue. How to eat a bowl of custard with only a fork. I’ve forgotten my spoon for dinner and can’t remove the warm custard from the canteen. A few years ago, the wider financial market news would have etched a pain look upon my face as I would stare at the data screens and eek out an opportunity in a turbulent day of trading. How my life has changed immeasurably, how such stresses have ebbed and how much more content I’ve become.

Two mammoth swans arrive here at Ford, the seagulls seem a bit put out. Prisoners come out in droves to feed them. Lot of nature lovers here.