The Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, has fallen victim to an online prankster who got him to joke about one of his predecessor’s supposed drinking habits.
Carney was caught out by the same hoaxer who tricked the Barclays boss, Jes Staley, this month.
The prankster, who goes by the Twitter handle @SINON_REBORN, emailed Carney from a Hotmail account pretending to be Anthony Habgood, the chair of the Bank’s court. In the exchange, posted on Twitter, Carney appears initially to fall for the prank and tentatively accepts an invitation to a “soiree” in June.
But the governor is quick to dismiss his correspondent’s message as “not appropriate at all” when the impostor claims to have engaged some “rather dashing bar ladies” for the evening.
The Bank declined to comment on the exchange. It has insisted in the past that it takes online security very seriously but the prank on the nation’s top central banker is likely to raise questions about whether more precautions should be taken.
While the prankster got a swift slapdown for his sexist comments, he did manage to draw the Canadian banker on the topic of morning drinking.
According to the exchange as posted on Twitter, the prankster used email@example.com and wrote under the subject line “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.
I will drink the martini and order another two. Apparently that was Eddie George’s daily in take…before lunch
The comment was likely a reference to an interview given at the weekend by the former shadow chancellor Ed Balls, in which he told the Observer that at lunches, the former Bank of England governor Eddie George “would start with a martini, never eat vegetables and incredibly good clarets would appear from the vaults”.
Carney appeared to exercise more caution than Staley, who responded to emails sent by a “John McFarlane”, the name of the Barclays chairman.
The email exchange showed Staley being told “you owe me a large Scotch” after the bank’s difficult annual general meeting, in which the chairman repeatedly defended the chief executive over the latter’s attempts to unmask a whistleblower who had been making allegations about the previous conduct of a new recruit in the US.
In the exchange, Staley appeared to lavish praise on McFarlane, who was instrumental in hiring the American chief executive in 2015.