Market Overview

Barclays' Ex-CEO Tells Parliamentary Committee "It Wasn't Just Me"


Former Barclays (NYSE: BCS) CEO Robert Diamond sat before a British parliamentary committee Wednesday and said that, while he does not feel personal culpability for the rate-fixing scandal, he does feel responsibility.

Diamond resigned his position on Tuesday, following Chairman Marcus Agius, who resigned Monday, out the door.

Agius said that "the buck stops with me," before quitting his job, stating that the scandal has dealt a "devastating blow," to the reputation of the bank.

However, Labour Party politician John Mann said that the news did not take any pressure off Diamond, saying that he "must resign. He's got to go. There is no role for people like him if banking is to be trusted again in this country and if British banking is to restore its tarnished reputation in the world, which of course is of great importance to our economy."

In his resignation statement, Diamond explained that his decision came as a result of "the external pressure [that] has reached a level that risks damaging the franchise – I cannot let that happen. [I am] deeply disappointed that the impression created by the events of last week about what Barclays and its people stand for could not be further from the truth.”

Last week, Barclays was fined $453 million for rate fixing after emails were made public showing very clearly that Barclays staff knew that they were doing wrong. The bank was fined for manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) between 2005 and 2009. According to the Associated Press, the Libor, "is calculated daily by the British Bankers' Association, based on lending rate figures submitted by global banks." However, some members of Barclays' staff adjusted those figures to boost profits.

According to Dealbook, Diamond placed some of the blame of regulators, telling the committee, "A number of banks were posting rates that were significantly below ours that we didn't think were correct. I can't sit here and say no one in the industry didn't know about the problems with Libor. There was an issue out there and it should have been dealt with more broadly.”

“I am sorry, angry and disappointed,” Mr. Diamond told the committee. “There's no excuse for the traders' actions. This is wrong, and I'm not happy about it.” On Thursday morning, Barclays traded at about $10.50, down roughly 2.1 percent.

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