CBI Boss: Barclays Scandal 'Deplorable'
The president of the CBI today waded into the crisis at Barclays, calling the manipulation of a key interest rate "deplorable" and warning that it damaged confidence in the City of London.
Speaking to me, Sir Roger Carr said that those implicated in the LIBOR-fixing scandal should be punished and the failure of risk controls at the bank urgently resolved in order to restore faith in one of the UK's most important industries.
The intervention of the head of Britain's most important business lobbying group comes after David Cameron, the prime minister, continued to insist that the board of Barclays had "serious questions to answer over the affair, which saw Barclays fined £290m by UK and US regulators.
Sir Roger told me:
"The manipulation of the LIBOR arrangements is deplorable and undermines international trust in the integrity of the City. This weakness must be addressed and the culprits punished. We should be mindful, however, of the importance of banking to the UK economy and that throwing out the baby with the bathwater is in no-one's interest provided the baby is clean."
Sir Roger's comments underline the broader concerns in Britain's business community about the latest in a string of scandals to hit the banking industry.
This afternoon, the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, an influential investor group, added its voice to those calling for Barclays executives to be hit by financial penalties.
"The Forum is calling for the claw-back of bonuses to 2005 when the interest rate manipulation first started. LAPFF also urges the company to pursue criminal charges against staff and executives at the bank. Chairman Ian Greenwood stated: 'The use of tactics to manipulate interest rates to create a favourable trading environment and pad the company's profits is inexcusable. This renews LAPFF's call for serious governance and cultural reform within the UK banking industry.'"
Earlier today, I revealed that leading Barclays shareholders are drawing up a list of heavyweight names to lead an independent inquiry that they say is necessary to restore City confidence in the bank.