Diamond offers to meet MPs again after criticism
FORMER BARCLAYS chief executive Bob Diamond has offered to return to parliament to challenge politicians who said he was not telling the truth about the bank’s relationship with regulators.
“The comments made at today’s hearing have had a terribly unfair impact upon my reputation, which is of paramount concern to me,” Mr Diamond said in a letter on Tuesday evening to Andrew Tyrie, treasury committee chairman.
“I look forward to discussing this issue with you further if you wish to do so.”
Politicians accused Mr Diamond (60) of misleading parliament when he did not disclose criticism from the Financial Services Authority that Barclays exhibited “a pattern of behaviour” in an attempt to exploit accounting loopholes and game regulations.
FSA chairman Adair Turner said in a letter in April to Barclays chairman Marcus Agius that trust had been eroded by the bank’s approach to tax, regulation and accounting.
Mr Turner’s letter revealed pressure had been building on Mr Diamond for years before the bank’s admission that it attempted to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, the global benchmark for $360 trillion of securities.
The letter cited FSA concerns about Barclays’s methods to meet regulatory capital requirements.
In his letter to Mr Tyrie, Mr Diamond said he was only asked by the committee about the period from September 2010 to February 2012. He was not asked about the April correspondence or a meeting between Mr Turner and Mr Agius that month, Mr Diamond wrote.
Mr Diamond was asked repeatedly about the bank’s relationship with the FSA at a treasury committee hearing on July 4th, a day after he resigned as chief executive.
Andrew Bailey, the FSA’s head of banking supervision, discussed the concerns over London-based Barclays’s “aggressive” interpretation of regulation and use of accounting ploys at a Barclays board meeting on February 9th, Mr Turner said in the letter.
“It is the level of seniority and the language in the letter that show the FSA’s concerns,” Ian Mason, a former director of the regulator’s enforcement division and now an editor at the Practical Law, said in an interview.
Barclays was fined a record £290 million on June 27th for attempting to rig interest rates.
“Diamond lied to the committee,” David Ruffley, a Conservative committee member, said at yesterday’s hearing.
John Mann, a fellow committee member and Labour politician, said Mr Diamond should be recalled to give more evidence.
Jerry Del Missier, the chief operating officer at Barclays, who resigned hours after Mr Diamond, will testify to MPs on Monday, the treasury committee said yesterday. – (Bloomberg)