Shareholders and political figures are among those calling for Mr Diamond to consider his position after investigators from the Financial Services Authority and the US Commodity Futures and Trading Comission said they had found evidence that Barclays had tried to manipulate Libor for several years in the run up to the financial crisis and in its aftermath.
Lord Oakeshott, a former Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, described the bank as “a casino that was rigging the wheels and loading the dice” reports The Telegraph.
“If Bob Diamond had a scintilla of shame, he would resign,” he said. “If Barclays’ board had an inch of backbone between them they would sack him.”
Martin Taylor, the former chief executive of Barclays, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the board of Barclays was facing questions about how it restores the reputation of the business. “There’s not much to a bank except its licence, computer systems and reputation,” he said. If a bank has a “policy of systematic dishonesty” he added, then it has “some rebuilding to do.”
“It’s hard to believe that a policy which seems so systematic was not known to people at or near the top of the bank”, added Mr Taylor. But said that the “question of how high up knowledge goes is something only Barclays can answer”.
He said: “If [Mr Diamond] stays, it has to be because the board believes he’s the only person who can turn this around. He is a great leader and has a great following. If he can help clean out the stables, then he should stay. Only the board can judge that.”
Sir George Mathewson, the former chairman and chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, also told the Today programme that if senior management knew what was going on, that would be “unacceptable”.
Asked whether Mr Diamond should resign, he said: “I wouldn’t make as quick a judgement as that. I think that possibility should exist. I think that his case is interesting in as much he’s really the first chief executive of a UK bank to command the sorts of rewards he’s receiving and there should be a very high expectation of him.”
Mr Diamond, and three of the bank’s senior managers including finance director Chris Lucas, said they would not take bonuses this year as a result of the regulator’s findings.
However, one major shareholder said the move was insufficient and claimed senior executives should be forced to resign.
“Taking off a couple of million from Bob’s bonus isn’t enough. People should be considering resignations. This has happened under the board’s nose. Where is the accountability?” he said.