Lord Mandelson has launched a fierce attack on one of Britain's richest bankers, as Labour stepped up its pre-election sparring over the state of the economy.
The Business Secretary branded Barclays Capital president Bob Diamond "the unacceptable face of banking", saying he had earned tens of millions of pounds by "dealmaking and shuffling paper around".
Meanwhile, a political ally of Prime Minister Gordon Brown - former Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson - said there was a sense of "moral dismay" among voters at banks continuing to pay massive bonuses to executives after the sector had to be bailed out with taxpayers' money.
Barclays has previously denied claims that Mr Diamond was paid £63 million. But Lord Mandelson told The Times: "If you look at Bob Diamond, who took £63 million in pay - that to me is the unacceptable face of banking.
"He hasn't earned that money, he's taken £63 million not by building business or adding value or creating long-term economic strength, he has done so by dealmaking and shuffling paper around."
The minister went on say that his wealth "doesn't mean to say different standards of morality apply".
Mr Diamond, 58, is the number two at the bank and head of its highly profitable investment bank.
It was disclosed last month that he would bag another £6 million jackpot if his bank hit targets over the next three years.
Mr Diamond was awarded the shares under a new incentive plan for the years 2010 to 2012, the bank's annual report said.
Mr Diamond also earned more than £20 million on the sale of his stake in the group's fund management arm last year, although his huge rewards have acted as a lightning rod for criticism over industry pay.Reuse content