David Cameron said Barclays’ board had “serious questions to answer” over Libor fixing as George Osborne prepared to address Parliament about the scandal amid calls for Bob Diamond, the bank’s chief executive, to resign.
David Cameron, the prime minister, said on the bank’s £290m fine for attempting to manipulate Libor, the world’s benchmark bank borrowing rate:
“This is a scandal. It is extremely serious. They’ve had a very large fine and quite rightly. But frankly the Barclays management team have some big questions to answer,” he said.
“How did this happen? Who was responsible? Who’s going to be held accountable for it? These are issues they need to determine and determine quite rapidly.
“In terms of what happens next, I would say that the regulator should use all the powers and means at their disposal to pursue this in the way they feel is appropriate.”
George Osborne, the Chancellor, will make a statement in the House of Commons this afternoon about what the government plans to do about Barclays and the Libor scandal.
Barclays has come under fire from shareholders and political figures after investigators from the Financial Services Authority and the US Commodity Futures and Trading Comission said they had found evidence that Barclays had tried to manipulate Libor for several years in the run up to the financial crisis and in its aftermath.
Shares in Barclays tumbled 7pc to 182p on Thursday morning, following the revelations. Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds also fell sharply, they are among around a dozen banks which are also being investigated.
Labour leader, Ed Milliband, said those who broke the law at Barclays should face criminal prosecution.
He told Unite: “This cannot be about a slap on the wrist. When ordinary people break the law, they face charges, prosecution and punishment. The same should happen here. The public who are paying the price for bankers’ irresponsibility will expect nothing less.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said the attempted manipulation was “very, very dodgy practice indeed” and urged all banks to “come clean”. He added: “I think that if there has been criminal activities then clearly people need to pay the price.”