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Barclays Fined for “Manipulating” Lending Rates

One of the UK’s biggest banks has been fined an astonishing £290m after an investigation into claims that several banks had “manipulated” lending rates. Barclays saw their share price plummet by 16% and chief executive Bob Diamond – who announced that he would not be taking his annual bonus – has come under increasing pressure to resign from his post.

The Financial Services Authority slapped the fine on the bank saying that they had “repeatedly made false submissions to help set the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor).” This rate is used to fix the cost of borrowing on mortgages and loans. Investigators found that Barclays had tried to manipulate Libor for several years, including in the run up to the financial crisis, and also today.

The latest issue to hit the bank follows on from the missold PPI scandal that has gripped the UK in recent years, and Chancellor George Osborne has come out and criticized the management. He said that ordinary people have “paid a very heavy price” and the executives must now “answer for their greed.” He went on to say that the actions of the bank was “typical of an age of irresponsibility”, but did admit, “Barclays are not alone in doing this,” claiming that HSBC, RBS, UBS and Citigroup are also “under investigation.”

Emails were uncovered that showed Barclays, and the other banks involved, attempting to inflate and suppress Libor. In one particular email sent to a Barclays employee involved in the submissions to Libor, a trader asked for the rate to be “set as high as possible” with the unnamed employee replying “sure.”

Another message read “I owe you big time. Come over one day after work and I’m opening a bottle of Bollinger.”

The bank have already moved to dismiss a number of employees who have been involved in this scandal, with others being lined up for dismissal. Mr Diamond has given a brief statement in which he said he was “very sorry that some people acted in a manner not consistent with our culture and values.”

Posted by Chris White on 29 Jun 2012

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