Diamond hits back: how dare you suggest I misled inquiry

Anger £2m payoff as doubts about his evidence grow

Bob Diamond, the former Barclays chief executive, set out to defend his reputation yesterday after being castigated by MPs for misleading Parliament.

Mr Diamond angrily rejected suggestions that he had been dishonest about regulators' concerns over activities at Barclays, calling the claims "totally unfair and unfounded". He had earlier been accused of giving "deliberately misleading" testimony to the Treasury Select Committee when it had questioned him over the Libor scandal last week.

The row came as it emerged that Barclays had been criticised by watchdogs for playing fast and loose with the rules just months before the scandal broke. Bob Diamond wrote: "Having watched the committee's session today I was dismayed that you and some of your fellow committee members appeared to suggest that I was less than candid with the committee last week.

"Any such suggestion would be totally unfair and unfounded."

As pressure grew on the former boss, Mr Diamond gave up £20m in bonuses he was due to receive, but will still receive £2m from Barclays.

An incendiary letter to Marcus Agius, chairman of Barclays, from Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority, was made public to the committee with Mr Agius's appearance. In it Lord Turner accused the bank of:

* Seeking to gain advantage "through the use of complex structures … which are at the aggressive end of interpretation of the relevant rules".

* Seeking to "spin its messages in a confusing and unhelpful manner" during financial stress tests last year.

* Using up "resources and goodwill" by continually arguing with watchdogs when rulings went against it.

* Draining trust away by its approach to issues including tax, regulation and accounting.

The letter came despite Mr Diamond's suggestion that relations with the FSA were good at a hearing of the select committee last week.

During the hearing with Mr Agius yesterday, MPs expressed fury over Mr Diamond's evidence last week. "It will look to us, and frankly it will look to everybody listening, like another example of a complete lack of candour to Parliament by the chief executive of Barclays," said the committee's chairman Andrew Tyrie, who accused Mr Diamond of a "cavalier attitude" towards Parliament.

However Mr Agius said he could not speak for Mr Diamond and repeated that view during a terse exchange with Labour's John Mann, who claimed Mr Diamond had "calculatedly and deliberately misled this parliamentary committee". Mr Mann added: "Mr Diamond has been misleading this committee, hasn't he?"

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Tyrie said Mr Agius's evidence had revealed Mr Diamond's testimony to be "implausible".

"Many of us thought that his replies were implausible, but didn't have evidence to support that hunch," he said. "We [have now] begun to collect quite a bit of evidence to suggest that Bob Diamond's presentation of what happened was quite a long way away from what really happened."

Mr Tyrie said the Committee would now consider the areas in which it believed it had been misled.

Mr Diamond, he said, would be given a chance to respond.

Mr Tyrie highlighted the letter, which he said did not tally with Mr Diamond's testimony. "It's clear from that letter that Bob Diamond's suggestion that the Financial Services Authority was broadly happy with what was going on in Barclays in February of this year … simply doesn't tally with a reading of the letter."

John Mann, a Labour committee member went further and said Mr Diamond would have to be recalled.

"There's a constitutional issue here of whether we allow them to get away with it. I think we've got no choice [but to recall Mr Diamond]. Parliament's reputation is at stake."

The regulator's view of Barclays appeared to be endorsed by the corruption watchdog Transparency International, which rated Barclays among the least transparent companies in terms of their financial reporting. It came 71st out of 105 of the world's biggest publicly traded companies. That put it beneath PetroChina and level with Saudi Basic Industries.

The bonuses given up by Mr Diamond were "deferred" payments of shares for work he has already done. But he will still receive £2m, made up of a year's salary plus a payment in lieu of pension despite his contractual notice period being only six months.

Mr Agius said this was because Mr Agius had agreed to be "at the end of the phone" when required by Barclays bosses over the next year.

But critics argued that it was still too high. David Hillman, spokesman for the Robin Hood Tax campaign, said: "It exposes the financial sector's warped sense of entitlement that a seven-digit payoff for Bob Diamond's failure is seen as acceptable."

The Independent's reporting of the Barclays affair was referred to yesterday when the MP Mark Garnier asked Marcus Agius to respond to a whistleblower who told this newspaper that employees at the bank worked in a 'culture of fear'.

Cameron's view: No apology required

David Cameron does not believe George Osborne needs to apologise for suggesting that former Labour ministers were involved in the Barclays rate-fixing scandal, his aides said yesterday.

Labour is demanding the apology after the Bank of England's Deputy Governor, Paul Tucker, denied in evidence to Parliament that any minister or Whitehall official encouraged him to "lean on" Barclays to lower its submissions to the crucial Libor index.

Following his comments, Andrea Leadsom, a Conservative member of the Commons Treasury Committee which heard Mr Tucker's denial, said Mr Osborne had clearly made a mistake and should now apologise.

She said: "It was a very valid discussion at the time about who knew what and it has now been completely squashed by Paul Tucker."

But asked whether the Prime Minister agreed it was time for the Chancellor to say sorry, Mr Cameron's official spokesman said: "The Treasury has been making the position clear that he won't. He [Mr Cameron] agrees with the Treasury."

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, also dismissed the demand, telling the BBC: "Parliament is a lively place and it should be, it's a free Parliament. The Chancellor said there are questions to answer, there remain questions to answer and I see no reason why he should apologise for that."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy as ECB finally wield the axe
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas