Barclays bank chairman Marcus Agius steps down over LIBOR rate fixing scandal

Barclays chairman Marcus Agius seen at the world Economic Forum in Davos, in this January 28, 2009 file photo. Getty

(AP) LONDON - The chairman of U.K.-based Barclays bank (BCS-P) has stepped down, accepting responsibility for a scandal regarding the manipulation of data by his bank which led to a massive fine.

Marcus Agius, who has served as chairman for about 6 years, announced Monday that he was accepting responsibility as "ultimate guardian of the bank's reputation."

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

He said that Michael Rake, a senior independent director of the bank, had been appointed to lead an in-house review of all past practices, to publish a report of its findings and develop a new, mandatory code of conduct for everyone at Barclays.

U.S. and British agencies imposed fines totaling $453 million on Barclays last week for submitting false data - charges that the bank and its subsidiaries tried to manipulate interest rates that can affect how much people pay for loans to buy homes and attend college.

The incidents occurred between 2005 and 2009 and sometimes took place daily, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said last week in announcing the settlement. A $200 million civil penalty levied against Barclays is the largest in the CFTC's history.

The CFTC said Barclays' employees tried to manipulate data used to determine the London interbank offered rate - known as LIBOR- and Euribor rates.

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"As a result of instructions from Barclays' senior management, the Bank routinely made artificially low LIBOR submissions to protect Barclays' reputation from negative market and media perceptions concerning Barclays' financial condition," the CFTC said in a statement.

The LIBOR is an average rate set by banks each morning that measures how much they're going to charge each other for loans. That rate, in turn, affects rates on many loans for consumers and businesses.

Barclays also agreed to pay $160 million as part of an agreement with the Justice Department's criminal division on a related matter. It will also pay nearly $93 million to British regulators.

The Justice Department said its related criminal investigation continues. Barclays has agreed to cooperate with that probe.

The CFTC said Barclays' efforts to manipulate rates sought to benefit itself and other banks.

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