Barclays chairman quits over banking fraud scandal
BARCLAYS chairman Marcus Agius confirmed he will quit today over the rate-rigging banking scandal which saw Barclays bank fined 290 million pounds ($455 million) for trying to influence two major interest rates, the Libor and the Euribor.
His exit will pile fresh pressure on chief exec Bob Diamond to resign too.
Mr Agius, 65, was forced to fall on his sword as pressure grows for a criminal probe into Libor rate fixing between banks.
He said: “As chairman, I am the ultimate guardian of the bank’s reputation. Accordingly, the buck stops with me and I must acknowledge responsibility by standing aside.”
Barclays cut key lending rates after a call between Bob Diamond and a Bank of England chief.
Mr Diamond, then boss of Barclays Capital, spoke on the phone to deputy governor Paul Tucker.
They discussed the high Libor rates Barclays were paying to borrow cash. Later on the day of the call — October 29, 2008 — Barclays traders were told to reduce their rates.
The Financial Services Authority said a “misunderstanding” at Barclays meant managers “mistakenly” believed the Bank of England had given them the green light for the cut.
Taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland — already being probed — has sacked four traders over rate-fixing, it emerged last night.
As the scandal deepened, Business Secretary Vince Cable called for a criminal investigation into rigging.
He said: “The public can’t understand why people are thrown into jail for petty theft and these guys walk away having perpetrated what looks like conspiracy”.