Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is no lightweight. He's stared down London's wily financial community, weathered Brexit, plunged interest rates to zed, and he's done it all without getting too big a head about it. But Carney may have finally met a challenge great enough to best him: operating an email account.
On Monday, Carney opened up his work account to see a message from one firstname.lastname@example.org, which he assumed to be Anthony Habgood, chairman of the Court of the Bank of England. The email referenced the perfectly English scandal brewing over the newly designed £10 notes featuring the face of Jane Austen, which some say make the author look insufficiently “sour.” As Financial News London first reported, the email read:
Subject: I see reports of Jane Austen in the papers today
Apparently her face resembles that of someone who's had a 'bracing martini'.
I'd prefer a large Scotch myself.
Sent from my iPhone
Hours later, Carney responded with a reference to one of his predecessors, the Right Honorable Lord Edward Alan John George, deceased:
I will drink the martini and order another two. Apparently that was Eddie George's daily in take...before lunch
The only issue: Habgood wasn't actually Habgood. Like fellow non-Brit British banker Jes Staley, Carney had been duped. The culprit in both cases was a 38 year-old web designer who goes by sinon_reborn, aka EMAIL PRANKSTER. But Carney, to his credit, eventually let his Canadian prudence get the better of him, preventing a minor lapse in email security turn into a significant scandal.
After extending Carney an invitation to attend a “Summer Nights themed soiree,” which the central banker cautiously accepted, the prankster wrote:
Excellent. I've hired some rather dashing bar ladies (is that PC?!)
If you ask for the crystal glasses you'll be able to admire their enchanting dexterity. I keep those glasses low down, ha! You don't reach my age without knowing all the tricks.
To which Carney:
Sorry Anthony. Not appropriate at all
Well report me to Brussels then!
Carney stops responding at that point, so at least that part of his reputation remains intact. Still, he'll have to swallow a little bit of pride with the three-or-so martinis he stirs up after work.
Meanwhile, the merry prankster will continue his quest to humiliate every major figure in London's banking establishment promote sound email security practices: