LONDON (Reuters) – Bank of England Governor Mark Carney poked fun at the drinking habits of one of his predecessors before realizing he had fallen victim to an email prankster this week.
Carney was drawn into the simple hoax when he replied to an email believing that he was talking to the head of the BoE’s internal oversight body, Anthony Habgood. A BoE spokesman confirmed the exchange.
The hoaxer emailed Carney on Monday to say the depiction of novelist Jane Austen on a new British banknote made it look as if the writer had just drunk a “bracing martini.”
“I will drink the martini and order another two. Apparently that was Eddie George’s daily in take … before lunch,” Carney said in one reply to the prankster who used the email address email@example.com.
Carney also said he would check to see if he could accept an invitation to a party, but the BoE boss shut down the conversation when the hoaxer talked about the “rather dashing bar ladies” he had supposedly hired for the event.
“Sorry Anthony. Not appropriate at all,” was Carney’s final remark in the exchange published on Twitter by the anonymous hoaxer who used the Twitter handle @SINON_REBORN.
The hoaxer claimed to have been behind a similar exchange earlier this month with the chief executive of Barclays who believed he was swapping messages with the bank’s chairman when he told him he owed him “a large scotch”.
A BoE spokesman confirmed that the comments attributed to Carney were made by the BoE chief but declined to comment further.
The exchange is an embarrassment for Carney who has warned of cyber risks facing the international banking system.
The episode has echoes of another email slip-up by the British central bank in 2015 when an aide to Carney inadvertently sent comments to a newspaper about confidential research into the economic implications of Britain’s in-out European Union membership referendum.
(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Richard Lough)