Monday, April 23, 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
Harley-Davidson is offering a dream internship to eight college students

Harley-Davidson is offering a dream internship to eight college students

Picture it: Hitting the open road on your hog, speaking with interesting people, witnessing beautiful places and sharing the whole thing on Instagram while getting college credit.Harley-Davidson has announced its seeking eight interns for a 12-week p...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Apartments planned for shuttered stores at Pasco’s Gulf View Square mall

Apartments planned for shuttered stores at Pasco’s Gulf View Square mall

PORT RICHEY — The new owner of two shuttered department stores at Gulf View Square mall wants to demolish the former retail outlets and replace them with nearly 400 apartments.The complex, called Gables at Gulf View, would be on the west side of the ...
Published: 04/23/18
Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

When Samantha Hess’s marriage ended five years ago, she felt she was lacking a basic human need: Physical touch. As a woman in her late 20s living in Portland, Oregon, she found plenty of men interested in dating, but sexual contact was not what she ...
Published: 04/21/18
Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. Those were among the prelim...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Times staffThe greater Brandon area will celebrate the grand opening of its second Goodwill store beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday (April 28) at 1407 U.S. 301. The new store will add another 12,000 square feet to the complex, which includes a 200,000-...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

State regulators Friday determined that one of the country’s largest residential solar companies, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is allowed to lease solar energy equipment for homes in Florida. The decision, solar energy advocates say, could open the do...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

For the sixth month running, Florida’s unemployment rate held at a nearly 11-year low of 3.9 percent in March as steady job gains continued. While many factors kept Florida’s economy chugging along, three industries stand out for leading year-over-ye...
Published: 04/20/18
Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front steps are too ...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Published: 04/20/18
Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

The Tampa Bay Times recently sat down with Walmart director of corporate communications Phillip Keene to chat about the retail giant’s latest retail strategies and how the company is winning over customers in a competitive market.Already, two of the ...
Published: 04/20/18