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Marcus Agius, Barclays chairman, resigns over rate-fixing scandal

The chairman of Barclays, Marcus Agius, has stepped down, days after it was revealed that the bank's traders had lied about the rates at which other firms were lending it money.

Marcus agius barclays 02 07 2012Enlarge
Marcus Agius, the chairman of Barclays, has resigned after the bank admitted to lying about the rates at which other firms were lending it money. (PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)

The chairman of Barclays, Marcus Agius, has resigned after revelations that the bank sought to fix inter-bank lending rates.

Barclays was last week fined £290 million ($450 million) by UK and US regulators for attempted manipulation of LIBOR, the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate, and its European equivalent, EURIBOR, the Guardian reported.

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In a statement this morning, Agius called the practices "unacceptable" and said they had dealt "a devasting blow to Barclays' reputation."

"The buck stops with me and I must acknowledge responsibility by standing aside," Agius said.

The bank has announced an independent review of its business practices that will be followed by a public report and mandatory code of conduct for all the bank's activities.

There will be a "zero-tolerance policy" for any actions that could damage Barclays' reputation further, the firm said.

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Barclays has admitted that its traders gave artificially low estimates of the bank's borrowing costs between late 2007 and May 2009, saying they thought their rivals were doing the same and they didn't want to appear like a worse lending prospect than everyone else, Reuters said

Authorities are said to be investigating several other banks, including Citigroup, HSBC, UBS and RBS.

According to the BBC, the British government is preparing to announce its own inquiry into practices at Barclays and other banks. Chancellor George Osbourne is expected to give further details later today.

Both Agius and Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond are due to face lawmakers' questions on the affair at parliamentary committee hearings later this week.

Agius will remain chairman until a successor is found. Sir Michael Rake has been apointed deputy chairman.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/120702/marcus-agius-barclays-chairman-resigns-rate-fixing-scandal