Thursday, June 21, 2018
Business

Barclays ex-CEO says many to blame in interest rate rigging

LONDON — Bob Diamond, former chief executive of Barclays, told a British parliamentary committee Wednesday that the manipulation of global interest rate benchmarks involving 14 traders at the bank had made him "physically sick."

But Diamond, who resigned Tuesday, also placed some of the blame for the rate manipulation scandal on regulators.

He said the bank had raised concerns multiple times with U.S. and British authorities about discrepancies over how LIBOR — the London interbank offered rate, a measure of how much banks charge each other for loans — was set. The bank was not told to stop the practice, according to Barclays' documents submitted to the British Parliament.

Diamond also sought to deflect attention from the bank's role in the authorities' continuing investigation, pointing out that other major global financial institutions also had been implicated. U.S. and British regulators, who announced a $450 million settlement with Barclays last week, are investigating the actions of more than 10 large financial institutions, including JPMorgan Chase, UBS and Citigroup.

"I can't sit here and say no one in the industry didn't know about the problems with LIBOR," he said. "There was an issue out there, and it should have been dealt with more broadly."

The 60-year-old executive, who initially appeared nervous giving his testimony, but gradually became more comfortable during the nearly three hours of questioning, batted away questions of his being solely to blame for the scandal.

"I don't feel personal culpability. What I do feel is a strong sense of responsibility," Diamond said, adding he had made the decision to resign when support from regulators and shareholders for his position at the bank began to wane.

He also implicated the Bank of England, the country's central bank, and leading British politicians.

During his testimony, Diamond described a phone call he received at the end of October 2008 from Paul Tucker, a high-ranking official at the Bank of England. According to Diamond, Tucker expressed concerns from senior politicians that Barclays had been submitting rates consistently higher than rivals, a sign of relatively poor health.

Diamond then emailed Jerry del Missier, a top deputy, about the conversation, saying that Tucker had stated that it "did not always need to be the case that we appeared as high as we have recently," according to documents released by the bank.

Del Missier, who also resigned Tuesday, subsequently directed employees to keep the submissions lower, or at least in line with rivals. His actions, some regulators say, were owed to a "miscommunication," rather than instructions from Tucker.

"I was unaware that Jerry had the impression that Tucker's phone call was taken as an instruction," Diamond said.

"I am sorry, angry and disappointed," Diamond told the parliamentary committee. "There's no excuse for the traders' actions."

Diamond is the first person implicated in the rate manipulation scandal to give evidence to the British parliamentary committee. The outgoing chairman of Barclays, Marcus Agius, and high-ranking officials from the Financial Services Authority, the country's securities regulator, and the Bank of England also are expected to testify.

In addition, the British prime minister, David Cameron, has announced a wide-ranging inquiry into the British banking sector, and expects the results to be published by the end of the year.

Comments
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Updated: 4 hours ago
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s has been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Published: 06/21/18
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18
WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

Mike Piper has traveled to Las Vegas and Miami and enjoyed the fun, daytime, party pool scene that the two cities have to offer.Now he aims to bring that same atmosphere to Tampa with a new dining and hang out spot. WTR Pool & Grill opened on Sunday ...
Published: 06/21/18
Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

A new resale store has made its way to South Tampa. Grace Family Church recently opened Vintage Etc., to provide affordable, quality merchandise to the community and continue its outreach to help families in need in a loving Christian environment. "W...
Published: 06/21/18
2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

Summer has officially started and so have summer travel plans. About 2.4 million Floridians are expected to travel for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, up 6.3 percent from last year, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group."We are already seeing a b...
Published: 06/21/18