Barclays chairman resigns amid scandal
Agius takes responsibility for rate-fixing by traders and says the bank's reputation has taken a serious blow.
Barclays (BCS) chairman Marcus Agius resigned Monday in the middle of the bank's rate-fixing scandal.
Agius stepped up and said, "The buck stops with me," saying the scandal has dealt a "devastating blow" to the reputation of the bank.
According to Reuters, the news does not take any pressure off CEO Bob Diamond. British Labour Party politician John Mann says Diamond 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."
Last week, the The Associated Press reported that Barclays had been fined $453 million for rate fixing after emails were made public showing very clearly that bank employees knew they were doing wrong.
Barclays was fined for manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) between 2005 and 2009. 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 the AP story, one trader wrote, "As always, any help wd be greatly appreciated."
"I am going 90 altho 91 is what I should be posting," came the reply.
The trader responded, "When I retire and write a book about this business your name will be written in golden letters."
"I would prefer this not be in any book!" came the answer.
While understandable, the email author's desire for privacy turned out to be remarkably naive, as the email is now being shared around the world. Even Prime Minister David Cameron described the situation as "extremely serious."
Whether Diamond will keep his job remains to be seen. Agius released a statement saying: "Last week's events -- evidencing as they do unacceptable standards of behavior within the bank -- have dealt a devastating blow to Barclays' reputation. . . . The buck stops with me, and I must acknowledge responsibility by standing aside. I am truly sorry that our customers, clients, employees and shareholders have been let down."
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