Bob Diamond – A Question?

Now that Barclays (ex) Chief Executive Bob Diamond has gone, there seems to be an unanswered (or even, unasked) question left hanging about what he did or did not know. From the open letter written on the 28th June 2012 to Andrew Tyrie, Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee and published on the Barclays website we learn:

“This inappropriate conduct was limited to a small number of people relative to the size of Barclays trading operations, and the authorities found no evidence that anyone more senior than the immediate desk supervisors was aware of the requests by traders, at the time that they were made. ”

Now, ignoring the slightly weasel-wording, this would seem to claim that Bob Diamond (and his management team) were unaware of the attempt to manipulate LIBOR rates etc.

However, following his resignation, Barclays have published information of a memo in which it is stated:

Mr Tucker stated the levels of calls he was receiving from Whitehall were ‘senior’ and that while he was certain we did not need advice, that it did not always need to be the case that we appeared as high as we have recently.”

The memo was sent by Bob Diamond to John Varley, the Chief Executive at the time and Jerry del Missier, president of Barclays Capital.

In itself there may be nothing wrong with this, but, if this memo is being presented as evidence that Barclays were under the impression that mis-reporting LIBOR had been approved by the Bank of England, then the claim that Bob Diamond did not know must surely be false – it would be disingenuous to claim “I didn’t know it was going on, and in any case, it had been approved by the Bank of England”.

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