Welcome to our live coverage of Marcus Agius’ testimony to MPs. The outgoing Barclays chairman faces questions on rate-rigging by the bank’s traders and his defence of Bob Diamond. By Tom Burgis and Ben Fenton in London. All times are London time.
12.53 That’s that for our live coverage of Agius’ evidence. That was brutal — even if the outgoing Barclays chairman somehow contrived to compare himself to Donald Rumsfeld and his bank to Roger Federer.
Three key nuggets from what we heard today:
- After points in Agius’ testimony contradicted Bob Diamond’s comments to MPs, some members of the Treasury select committee are convinced that Bob Diamond misled them
- Diamond will walk away with £2m in salary and cash in lieu of pension, inlcuding being paid double his contractual entitlement of six months’ notice. He has waived bonuses worth up to £20m
- FSA chairman Lord Turner wrote to Agius in April and told him that the regulator’s “cumulative impression” is that “Barclays has a tendency continually to seek advantage from complex structures or favourable regulatory interpretations”
12.41 Here’s a last thought from Chris Giles, the FT’s economics editor:
Most amazing Agius moment: Barclays: the Roger Federer of banking
12.37 And with that, after two and a half hours in the hot seat, Agius is
ejected into the Thames allowed to depart. Read more
Today’s session of PMQs was unexpectedly boring. Amid another big banking scandal, with the future of the City at stake, somehow David Cameron and Ed Miliband got bogged down in a tedious discussion of what sort of inquiry there should be into what went on.
The Prime Minister is pursuing a parliamentary inquiry, which he wants to be led by Andrew Tyrie, the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee. Miliband wants a full Leveson-style judge-led inquiry.
Miliband obviously thinks he is onto something here, and that by getting ahead of the PM he can do what he did last year, when it looked like he had forced Cameron to set up the Leveson inquiry. And he said as much today: Read more
What are we looking for when Bob Diamond, the ousted Barclays boss, testifies in front of the Treasury Select Committee today? Here are a few things the committee members might like to ask:
* Diamond’s memo yesterday revealed details of his phone conversation in October 2008 with Paul Tucker, deputy head of the Bank of England. It appears to reinforce the idea that the Bank wanted Barclays to submit lower figures for Libor. MPs will ask the former Barclays CEO precisely what Tucker said and whether the memo is an entirely accurate transcript of Tucker’s words.
* MPs will ask whether Tucker told Diamond the identify of the powerful “Whitehall” figure or figures who supposedly wanted Barclays to lower its Libor submissions in line with other banks. The Tories have leapt on this, suggesting that it points towards Labour ministers and advisers of the time: but what if it was a Treasury mandarin? Read more
Bob Diamond, who resigned as Barclays CEO today
Now that Bob Diamond has quit as chief executive of Barclays, what does that mean for his appearance in front of the Treasury Select Committee tomorrow?
It may mean that the members of the committee tone down their attacks: it is less edifying watching a panel pillorying someone who has just resigned than someone who is refusing to do so.
But more importantly, it may mean that Diamond now feels free of his shackles and goes after other people he feels were complicit in the Libor scandal.
So who else could be in his line of fire? Read more
As Jim wrote earlier on this blog, the Tories and Labour are trading accusations of hypocrisy over their response to the news that Barclays has been hit with a record fine for trying to manipulate key interest rates.
The Tories are accusing Labour of under-regulating the banks; Labour reply they were under pressure from the Tories to regulate even less. Both are right, and here are a couple of quotes both will use to score points off each other.
The first is from Lord Tunnicliffe, Labour’s deputy chief whip in the Lords, who admitted today that his party did not legislate to make such manipulation a criminal offence: Read more