Lord Woolf Aids Barclays Ethics Probe
The former Lord Chief Justice who led a probe into ethical standards at BAE Systems, the defence contractor, has been enlisted to assist with a review of the culture and business practices of Barclays as it seeks to repair its battered reputation.
I have learnt that Lord Woolf, who retired as Britain's most senior judge in 2005, is among hundreds of people who have participated in an inquiry being led by Anthony Salz, a former partner at the City law firm Freshfields, on behalf of the Barclays board.
Mr Salz was appointed by the bank's directors last summer, in the wake of its £291m fine for manipulating the interbank borrowing rate Libor. He is expected to deliver his report in April ahead of Barclays' annual meeting.
Lord Woolf is one of the most prominent legal figures in the world, having led inquiries for the International Cricket Council about the sport's governance, and into the London School of Economics' relationship with the Libyan government under Colonel Gaddafi.
In 2007, he was commissioned by BAE Systems to examine the company's business practices following allegations that it had been involved in bribery and corruption in relation to the Al-Yamamah arms contract with Saudi Arabia.
Mr Salz's team has interviewed hundreds of people as part of his inquiry, including Bob Diamond, the bank's former chief executive. Current and former Barclays executives, as well as the bosses of other companies, fund managers and lawyers have all given evidence during the course of the probe.
The report is expected to make a series of recommendations about improving the culture of Barclays and the wider banking industry, although some people close to Barclays have begun to question its relevance following a string of changes announced by Antony Jenkins, Mr Diamond's successor as chief executive.
Mr Jenkins has warned Barclays' 140,000 staff around the world that they must adhere to a strict ethical code of conduct or leave the bank.
At his inaugural results presentation a fortnight ago, he confirmed plans to close the unit of Barclays' investment bank which helped companies minimise their tax liabilities, saying it was "incompatible" with the "new purpose and values" he wanted to instil.
Barclays could not be reached for comment.