Barclays reveals new probe, more U.S. Libor lawsuits

Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:03am EDT
 
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By Steve Slater and Matt Scuffham

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays Plc (BARC.L: Quote) revealed a new regulatory probe and more U.S. lawsuits on Friday, making it harder for the British lender to repair the damage to its reputation caused by its role in the interest rate-rigging scandal shaking banks.

Despite these latest blows, Barclays beat forecasts with a profit of more than 4 billion pounds ($6.3 billion) in the first six months of the year. The bank said its performance during July was ahead of last year and there has been no exodus of clients.

Barclays shares were up 4.8 percent to 161 pence by 05.59 a.m. EDT, outperforming a 0.2 percent fall by the European bank index .

The bank said on Friday that Britain's financial regulator has started an investigation involving the bank and four current and former senior employees, including finance director Chris Lucas.

The Financial Services Authority is investigating whether the bank made sufficient disclosures about the fees it paid under commercial agreements related to its capital raisings in June and November 2008. The bank said it is satisfied with its disclosures, but refused further comment.

It also faces more U.S. lawsuits after a record 290 million pound ($455.3 million) fine last month for rigging the Libor interest rate benchmark, sparking fierce criticism about its culture and risk-taking.

More than a dozen other banks are expected to be drawn into the global Libor investigation and could also be fined.

"We are sorry for the issues that have emerged over recent weeks and recognize that we have disappointed our customers and shareholders," Chairman Marcus Agius said on Friday.   Continued...

 
A man walks past a branch of Barclays bank in central London, June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Paul Hackett