March 31, 2023

DealBook: Diamond to Forgo Up to $31 Million in Bonuses From Barclays

Robert E. Diamond Jr., who resigned as chief of Barclays last week, said the Bank of England knew of the rate discrepancies.Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated PressRobert E. Diamond Jr., who resigned as chief of Barclays last week, said the Bank of England knew of the rate discrepancies.

Robert E. Diamond Jr., the former chief executive of Barclays, will forgo deferred stock bonuses of up to $31 million, as the British bank looks to quell public anger over an interest rate-rigging scandal.

The bank’s chairman, Marcus Agius, told a British parliamentary committee on Tuesday that Mr. Diamond would still receive up to one year in salary and a cash payment worth a combined $3.1 million. Mr. Diamond, who resigned last week as Barclays battled public furor over its illegal actions, will “support the transition to the new chief executive as necessary,” the bank said on Monday. Mr. Diamond had already agreed to forfeit his annual cash bonus.

“It is my hope that my decision to step down and today’s agreement on my remuneration will help close this chapter and allow Barclays to move forward and prosper,” Mr. Diamond said in the statement.

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Details of the pay package trickled out at the parliamentary committee hearing on Tuesday as British politicians scrutinized Mr. Agius, questioning whether he was a competent chairman. The committee struck a hostile tone, hammering away at Mr. Agius, who has also agreed to resign in wake of the scandal.

The committee also homed in on Mr. Diamond’s leadership of the bank and whether the former chief executive was fully forthcoming when he testified last week.

Last month, Barclays agreed to pay $450 million to settle accusations that it had attempted to manipulate a key interest rate known as the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, which is based on surveys from banks about the rates at which they could borrow money in the financial markets. The rate serves as a benchmark for the pricing of $350 trillion of financial products, including credit cards, mortgages and student loans.

The Barclays settlement with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Justice Department and Financial Services Authority of Britain exposed how the bank improperly influenced Libor to deflect concerns about its health and bolster profits.

The Barclays case, part of a broader investigation into how many of the world’s biggest banks set key interest rates, set off a firestorm in London that is now spreading to the United States. Several American banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, are also under scrutiny for their suspected role in the case.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr. Agius said: “The Board deeply regrets the circumstances that led to Bob resigning his positions at Barclays. Despite having no personal culpability, he recognizes more than anyone the negative attention that they have generated and has taken characteristically strong action to address that. These circumstances do not detract in any way from the tremendous legacy that Bob has left at Barclays, and his actions are clear indications of his commitment to the institution to which he has contributed so much.”

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British Reporter Says He’ll Name Names in Phone Hacking Scandal

The reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, 49, who was the chief reporter for the now-defunct tabloid The News of the World, gave the warning in a statement issued through his lawyers in connection with his wrongful-dismissal lawsuit against News International, the British newspaper arm of Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation. Mr. Thurlbeck was one of the first people arrested by Scotland Yard in a renewed investigation of the phone hacking this year, but he has denied publicly having played any part in the illegal interception of cellphone voicemails.

Mr. Thurlbeck remained on the News International payroll into September, when he was fired. He has accused the company of having unfairly dismissed him for being a whistleblower. In his statement on Friday, he suggested that both sides “retain a dignified silence until we meet face to face in a public tribunal,” a hearing on his suit.

“There is so much I could have said publicly to the detriment of News International but so far have chosen not to,” he said. “At the length, truth will out.”

News International declined to comment on Mr. Thurlbeck’s statement.

With his statement, Mr. Thurlbeck appeared to have joined other current or former News International employees who have shown a readiness to contradict one another in public about newsroom wrongdoing at The News of the World — in particular, who authorized the phone hacking, who at the newspaper and at News International knew about it, and when.

The discrepancies apparently in accounts given this summer by Murdoch executives to a parliamentary committee investigating the scandal will be explored further in additional hearings called by the committee this fall.

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