Sunday, 1 July 2012

Barclays chairman to quit; Libor discussed with BoE

Barclays Plc Chairman Marcus Agius is set to quit on Monday as the interest rate rigging scandal takes its first major scalp and threatens to widen to other banks, raising questions about the involvement of the Bank of England.
Agius, chairman at Barclays for 5-1/2 years, is expected to resign on Monday, a person familiar with the matter said.
Pressure has built on CEO Bob Diamond and Agius to quit following a $453 million (288.6 million pounds) fine for Barclays by British and U.S. regulators last week for submitting inaccurate submissions on the Libor interest rate.
A key conversation held in October 2008 that was last week highlighted in documents about the scandal was between The Bank's Deputy Governor Paul Tucker and Diamond, people familiar with the matter said.
Some people at Barclays mistakenly believed the bank had been granted permission to submit artificially low Libor estimates after that conversation, the documents released last week showed.
Barclays has admitted it submitted artificially low estimates of its borrowing costs from late 2007 to May 2009 because it thought rivals were doing the same and its higher submissions made it look troubled.
The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement of facts document released after the fine that a conversation between a senior BoE official and a senior Barclays official on October 29, 2008 had encouraged the bank's submissions to be low.
The DoJ document said as the substance of the conversation was relayed to other Barclays' employees, some mistakenly believed they had been instructed by the BoE to lower Libor submissions.
Barclays has also admitted that some of its traders attempted to manipulate the setting of the London interbank offered rate (Libor), which is used worldwide as a benchmark for setting prices on about $350 trillion of derivatives and other financial products.
More than a dozen other banks are being investigated in the long-running global probe by authorities in North America, Europe and Japan, including Citigroup, HSBC, UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland, and analysts and bankers expect more big fines.
(Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Greg Mahlich and Dale Hudson)

©Reuters 2012

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