Polished, discreet and very wealthy

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The former boss of the five bankers who embarrassed their firm with a £44,000 restaurant bill is unlikely to make the same mistake.

For Bob Diamond Jnr, the chief executive of Barclays Capital, discretion is a way of life. So keen is he to maintain a veil over his earnings that he will not join the board of his bank so that it need not declare his widely reported £13.75m salary and bonus in its annual reports. Instead, he quietly pockets a salary widely reported to have averaged over £1m a month last year, including a £10m Christmas bonus.

Mr Diamond, 50, who boasts of making his first billion dollars in 1981, was unavailable for comment yesterday, but his bonus last year is one of the most generous in City history.

Nicknamed "The Coach", the father-of-three shuns the spotlight, spending much of what spare time he has at his 19th-century town house in Kensington, West London. His house alone cost a reported £6m, and is set back from the road behind wrought iron gates, which are guarded night and day.

Mr Diamond joined Barclays in 1997 from BZW, for a package understood to be worth £5m. He poached 12 traders from Deutsche Bank last year in a deal worth £60m, and though he was tipped for the sack in 1998 after the bank made big losses in Russia, he now has 5,000 staff working for him across the world.

Despite his incredible wealth, he is unlikely to follow the extravagant eating and drinking habits of his former subordinates. Clean-living and health-conscious, his interest in coke extends only to the kind that comes in a can – preferably diet. Those who know him say he prefers the gym to wine bars, and green salads to haute cuisine.

Ironic, then, that he is one of the few who can still afford the lifestyle which so many of his contemporaries now see slipping though their fingers.

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