The BBC releases a recording of an October 2008 phone call between two bankers at Barclays in which one said he was under “serious pressure” from the Bank of England to set an artificially low rate for Libor, an inter-bank borrowing rate.
LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (BBC PANORAMA) – The Bank of England said on Monday (April 10) it would not publish details of its dealings with banks that rigged market interest rates at the height of the financial crisis until a lengthy criminal fraud investigation has concluded.
The BBC released a recording on Monday of an October 2008 phone call between two bankers at Barclays in which one said he was under “serious pressure” from the BoE to set an artificially low rate for Libor, an inter-bank borrowing rate.
The information in the recording largely echoes facts uncovered in investigations in 2012 by parliament and Britain’s now-defunct Financial Services Authority. Those led to a record fine for Barclays and the resignation of its chief executive Bob Diamond, its chairman and chief operating officer.
The scandal involved a total of 11 banks and brokerages and raised questions about the relationship between the BoE and banks in the run-up to the crisis.
It also triggered new laws explicitly to criminalise setting inaccurate market interest rates, and a series of probes by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office which have brought five convictions and some unsuccessful prosecutions.
The BoE said Libor and other global benchmarks were not regulated in Britain during the period in question.
A British lawmaker who sits on parliament’s Treasury Committee told the BBC on Monday that he wanted Diamond and Paul Tucker, then a deputy governor at the BoE, to appear before the committee again to discuss the BBC’s recorded telephone conversation.
Diamond told the BBC: “I never misled parliament and … I stand by everything I have said previously.” The BBC said Tucker did not respond to its questions.
British Labour MP and shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said on Monday that Panorama’s claims throw trust in Britain’s financial institutions into question.