Former Barclays bank boss Diamond rejects criticism

Bob DiamondFormer Barclays boss Bob Diamond has hit back at suggestions that he misled MPs over regulators' concerns about activities at the embattled bank.

The ex-chief executive said claims that he was "less than candid" when he appeared before the Commons Treasury Select Committee last week were "totally unfair and unfounded" - and indicated he was ready to be questioned again to defend his reputation in the wake of the rate-rigging scandal.

The rejection came in a letter to committee chairman Andrew Tyrie sent following an evidence session with Barclays chairman Marcus Agius on Tuesday.

During the hearing, Mr Agius - who has signalled he will step down after a replacement for Mr Diamond is found - admitted that Barclays' relationship with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) was "strained".

The committee cited an FSA letter sent to Barclays that raised concerns about "a pattern of behaviour" in which the bank sought to gain advantage through the use of complex structures which are "at the aggressive end of interpretation of the relevant rules and regulations".

Mr Tyrie and other members insisted the evidence contradicted what they heard from Mr Diamond, who denied knowing that regulators were concerned, and suggested that his presentation of what happened "was quite a long way away from what really happened".

Labour member John Mann said Mr Diamond had "serially misled" Parliament on a range of issues and said it was the majority view of the committee that Mr Diamond should be recalled. In his letter responding to the allegations, Mr Diamond stressed that he had not been questioned about the period when the FSA had raised concerns, in April this year.

"Having watched the committee's session I was dismayed that you and some of your fellow committee members appeared to suggest that I was less than candid with the committee last week," Mr Diamond wrote in his letter of Mr Tyrie. "Any such suggestion would be totally unfair and unfounded."

He continued: "The comments made have had a terribly unfair impact upon my reputation, which is of paramount concern to me. I look forward to discussing this issue with you further if you wish to do so."

During Tuesday's dramatic session, Mr Agius disclosed that Mr Diamond was "voluntarily" waiving a potential £20 million in deferred share bonuses. But the ex-chief executive will walk away with a £2 million package, made up of a year's salary and pension cash contribution, after quitting.

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