Ex-Barclays operating chief to testify at inquiry

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By ROBERT BARR, Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — The Barclays executive identified as the person responsible for ordering false reports of borrowing costs in 2008 will be called in front of a parliamentary inquiry next week, the Treasury Select Committee announced Wednesday.

Jerry del Missier, who resigned as chief operating officer at the beginning of July after the U.K. bank was fined $453 million by U.S. and British agencies for false reports and rate manipulation, will testify on Monday, the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee said.

The committee will also take testimony from three senior figures at the Financial Services Authority, the U.K. financial regulator.

When he spoke to the committee last week, Bob Diamond, who resigned as chief executive, said del Missier had misunderstood a memo about Diamond's conversation with Paul Tucker at the Bank of England during the credit crisis in 2008. The former chief executive has also said he believed that other banks were quoting false rates lower than Barclays, and this created an appearance that Barclays had problems borrowing money.

Referring to a conversation he had with Tucker, Diamond claimed the Bank's deputy governor said "it did not always need to be the case that we appeared as high as we have recently."

Diamond said del Missier misunderstood this as an order from the Bank of England, and passed it on.

In his testimony to the committee, Tucker denied saying anything to encourage or condone a move by Barclays to misquote rates.

On Tuesday, committee member John Mann charged that Diamond had "serially misled" the panel. Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie also expressed skepticism about Diamond's testimony.

"We felt that he had been economical with the truth. That we'd had difficulty of getting to the bottom of a number of questions the asked him, when we put those questions to Mr. Diamond last week, and many on the committee still feel that way," Tyrie said in an interview with Sky News.

Diamond fired back with a letter to Tyrie, saying he was dismayed by suggestions that his testimony was less than candid.

"Any such suggestion would be totally unfair and unfounded," Diamond said.

"The comments made at today's hearing have had a terribly unfair impact on my reputation, which is of paramount concern to me," he added.

Key issues are Diamond's assertion that he was unaware that regulators raised any concerns about his appointment as chief executive or about the culture of the bank.

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