Barclays forced to name executives on Libor list

Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:33pm EST
 
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By Matt Scuffham

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays was forced to name former heads Bob Diamond and John Varley, finance director Chris Lucas and other top executives and traders linked to a global rate-fixing probe, despite their calls for anonymity.

A UK judge ordered the bank to reveal their identities on Thursday during a preliminary hearing for a British test case on the mis-selling of interest rate swaps brought by a residential care home operator.

Guardian Care Homes alleges Barclays mis-sold interest rate hedging products based on Libor (London interbank offered rate)in a case that is shining a light on those involved in the bank's interest rate-setting process.

"The cat is out of the bag," said Judge Julian Flaux, as he dismissed requests by 104 former and current Barclays staff for anonymity, citing the public interest.

Barclays was the first bank to be fined for trying to game Libor, a central cog in the global financial system and a benchmark for around $550 trillion in contracts ranging from interest rate derivatives to home loans and credit cards.

The judge told the court that the release of the names was necessary in order to have an "informed debate" during the case. He also said that documents lodged with the court ahead of the trial, due to start in October, "showed some debate at a fairly high level in the bank" about the setting of Libor.

The judge instructed Barclays to release more minutes from board meetings at which Libor was discussed than those already provided.

Addressing the court, Tim Lord, the lawyer representing Guardian Care Homes, cited documents which referred to communications from "the 31st floor" - the part of Barclays headquarters in Canary Wharf, London, occupied by senior executives.   Continued...

 
Barclays bank former Chief Executive Bob Diamond arrives at Portcullis House to attend a Treasury select committee hearing in Westminster, London July 4, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor