Bank of England and Barclays chiefs have "urgent" questions to answer on Libor say Treasury committee members

 
Mark Sands
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(FILES) Britain's Bank of England is pic
Libor was not regulated until 2012 (Source: Getty)

Top dogs at the Bank of England and Barclays should face an urgent probe into their handling of Libor, according to MPs on Westminster's powerful Treasury Select Committee.

A BBC Panorama investigation has uncovered a secret recording which claims Bank officials pressured Barclays' management to lower benchmark rates.

Treasury committee members Stephen Hammond, Chris Philp and John Mann have all told City A.M. they back an enquiry into the reports, with Philp saying the committee "should urgently investigate what happened".

Hammond added: "The more [that] is revealed the more obvious the need for an enquiry is. This may well have legal ramifications."

The recording could raise fresh questions about oral evidence from former Barclays chief Bob Diamond and Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker to the Treasury Committee in 2012.

Asked if Diamond, Tucker, and Bank of England governor Mark Carney should all face further questions from MPs, Philp replied: "Yes. They all have questions to answer."

Mann agreed: “There needs to be a public investigation into these allegations. If the Bank was encouraging Libor manipulation what else were the big four banks getting away with?

"It appears that the Bank and Barclays have misled Parliament and both should be recalled to appear before the Treasury committee and explain this new evidence, which includes [former Boe governor] Lord King, Paul Tucker and Bob Diamond.”

Read more: Senior Barclays' banker believes bank's Libor rules had flaws, court hears

The calls were echoed by Labour's current and former shadow chancellors, John McDonnell and Chris Leslie.

Leslie told City A.M: "There may be specific examples here of bad practice, but I'd welcome the Treasury Select Committee revisiting the broader checks and balances needed - especially during times of crisis or stress."

It came after McDonnell issued a public statement demanding action. “This is an extremely serious revelation that contradicts past assurances about the role of the Bank of England in the Libor scandal," McDonnell said.

"It goes to the very heart of whether our financial institutions can be trusted. Therefore, it warrants an immediate high level investigation, and the chancellor must act straight away to ensure this happens.”

Read More: Ex-Barclays banker tells court he can't recall Libor training for staff

A Treasury spokesman said: “The government is absolutely clear that we must learn from the lessons of the past.

“That is why, since the financial crisis, we have carried out wholesale reform of how the financial system is regulated in this country, including making the manipulation of Libor a criminal offence.

“We will continue work with the UK's independent regulators to ensure that the our financial sector operates to the highest possible standards.”

Read More: FCA bans RBS Libor submitter from working in financial services

A Bank of England spokesperson said: "Libor and other global benchmarks were not regulated in the UK or elsewhere during the period in question. Nonetheless, the Bank of England has been assisting the SFO’s criminal investigations into Libor manipulation by employees at commercial banks and brokers by providing, on a voluntary basis, documents and records requested by the SFO.

"The Bank is committed to publishing materials relating to the SFO’s investigations into benchmark manipulation when it is appropriate to do so.

"Until the SFO’s ongoing prosecutorial activity relating to Libor and other benchmarks has concluded, the Bank is not in a position to publish these materials."

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