Bob Diamond, the former Barclays chief executive, indicated he would fight to keep his multimillion-pound pay-off after stepping down in the wake of the interest rate-fixing scandal, despite admitting he was in charge of bankers whose "behaviour… was reprehensible".
Questioned yesterday by MPs on the Treasury Select Committee, Mr Diamond repeatedly failed to commit to waiving his bonus of between £20m and £30m, claiming it was a matter "for the Barclays board".
Mr Diamond said he only found out about the rigging of Libor when he received the Financial Services Authority's report on the affair. He said he "got physically ill" when he read emails from Barclays traders discussing the Libor manipulation.
Mr Diamond told Parliament that the FSA was warned banks were blatantly fixing interest rates in the run-up to the financial crisis but did nothing stop it. He said that Barclays had raised the issue of banks "under-reporting" the true amount they were having to pay to borrow money but were ignored. Asked if regulators "were asleep at the wheel", he said: "There was an issue out there. [It] should have been dealt with."
During his testimony, Mr Diamond, who stepped down as Barclays chief executive on Tuesday, was repeatedly pressed by MPs about whether he had been instructed by the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Paul Tucker, to lower Barclays' own Libor rate of borrowing in October 2008.
He insisted he did not believe that to be the case – despite writing a contemporaneous memo suggesting Mr Tucker had told him that his bank's rates "did not always need" to be "as high". "I didn't feel it was an instruction," he explained. "I took it as either a heads-up that you're high or an annoyance that you're high." He also declined to name the "senior" Whitehall officials who had expressed concern at Barclays' borrowing costs, saying he did not want to "speculate" on who they might be.
Mr Tucker is expected to be asked to name those who expressed concern about Barclays when he gives evidence to the committee next Tuesday.