by Ray Fleming

The Barclays Bank scandal is serious enough in itself. But the prospect that it may be only the opening chapter of a book of revelations of similar activities by others is indeed depressing. References by the US Department of Justice to the “extraordinary co-operation” it received from Barclays will have worried senior figures elsewhere in the City that Barclays has provided information of wider relevance. However, the possibility of the broadening of the inquiries by the Financial Services Authority and its American counterparts should not delay appropriate action by the government in the Barclays case. The e-mails and text messages published by the Authority on Wednesday show the full complicity of Barclays staff in distorting to their own advantage information of critical importance to the wider financial world. In some respects they are similar to the e-mails and text messages seen in the Leveson Inquiry into the press which showed how easily a sub-culture of arrogant insiders can ignore rules and abuse established practices designed to protect the integrity of the services they provide. The degree of responsibility of Barclays current chief executive should be clarified as soon as possible.

During the period of four years to 2009 when the improper conduct was virulent he was in charge of the concerned operational department. Whether he knew or didn't know what was going on his early retirement seems inevitable.


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