Arab Today, arab today barclays apologises for libor affair
Last Updated : GMT 20:43:38
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Barclays apologises for Libor affair

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Barclays apologises for Libor affair

London - AFP

Barclays on Friday formally apologised for the Libor rate-rigging scandal and revealed that its finance director faced a probe into a separate regulatory matter in a fresh blow for the British bank. Announcing slumping profits at the embattled group, Barclays also confirmed that it was facing a slew of lawsuits after admitting last month that the company attempted to manipulate the Libor interbank interest rate. The lender added that British financial watchdog the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has started a separate probe into four current and senior employees — including current finance director Chris Lucas. “The FSA has commenced an investigation involving Barclays and four current and former senior employees, including Chris Lucas, group finance director,” Barclays said in the results statement. “The FSA is investigating the sufficiency of disclosure in relation to fees payable under certain commercial agreements and whether these may have related to Barclays capital raisings in June and November 2008.” The group added however that it was “satisfied” with its disclosures and would “cooperate fully” with the FSA. Barclays announced that net profits shrank to just £70 million (89 million euros, $110 million) in the six months to June on vast exceptional charges — compared with earnings after tax of £1.5 billion a year earlier. But Libor was the bank’s main focus heading into the latter part of 2012. “We are sorry for the issues that have emerged over recent weeks and recognise that we have disappointed our customers and shareholders,” said outgoing chairman Marcus Agius over the scandal which sparked his resignation. “I speak for all of Barclays’ people when I say how determined we are to regain the full confidence of all our stakeholders; customers and clients, investors, regulators and staff alike.” The London-listed bank was last month fined £290 million by British and US regulators after admitting that it attempted to manipulate the Libor and Euribor rates between 2005 and 2009. The bank on Friday also revealed that it had put aside £450 million to cover the mis-selling of derivatives products to small businesses. The results also included a vast accounting charge of £2.945 billion on the value of the group’s outstanding debt. Stripping out exceptional costs, the lender said underlying pre-tax profits climbed 13 percent to £4.23 billion on the back of a strong investment banking division. The Libor scandal prompted the resignation of Agius and chief executive Bob Diamond earlier this month, and also sparked a fierce political debate over ethics in the banking sector. “The recent events have been challenging for Barclays and all those who work for the group,” admitted Agius in comment that accompanied the earnings statement. “We continue to address the operational and control issues raised in connection with our Libor settlement with the US and UK authorities, many of which have been resolved over the course of the investigation. “However, as a consequence of recent events, the board of directors is now focused on identifying and recruiting a new chief executive as well as a chairman of the board. “During this interim period, my role as chairman of the executive committee is to provide stability and continuity for our customers and stakeholders,” Agius added. Britain’s Serious Fraud Office is considering whether to bring criminal prosecutions over the Libor scandal, while Prime Minister David Cameron has launched a parliamentary inquiry into revelations that Barclays traders lied about the interest rates other banks were charging it for loans. Libor, or London Interbank Offered Rate, is a flagship London instrument used as an interest benchmark throughout the world, while Euribor is the eurozone equivalent. The rates affect what banks, businesses and individuals pay to borrow money.

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