Long-term Slog suspicions about Diamond have been borne out by this disgraceful admission. However, the case has set a precedent – as a result of which, welfare scroungers may well find they face writing obligatory letters of apology.
Regular Sloggers will know that I’ve been on Bob Diamond’s case for some time now. Here’s a selection of Slog observations about the Diamond Geezer over the last two years:
‘Bob Diamond’s accession to the post of blue touch-paper igniter [CEO of Barclays] is a done deal. And another nail in the Coalition’s coffin.’
‘While he is seen as the bold raider who captured Lehman Brothers investment division (now folded into Barcap) it’s clear that he didn’t do enough due diligence before buying it. At the 2010 Manhattan inquiry into the acquisition, several Barcap executives testified that Barclays Plc had no real idea how big Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s futures-and-options trading business was. In particular, Elizabeth James, a director of Barclays’ futures business, described Lehman’s books as “a mess”. She said she received an e-mail from former Barclays trading executive Stephen King saying Lehman had “absolutely no idea” if it had sold $2 billion more options than it had bought, or whether it owned $4 billion more than it had sold.’
‘In 2009, [Barclays] bank reported a profit of £11.6bn, but the 2010 figure reported earlier this week was £6bn. So: profits fell by nearly half, then. Er…no, this year’s reported results changed last year’s profit of £11.6bn down to £4.6bn, so this meant the bank could report a rise of one third in profits….Diamond explained away the ‘correction’ by saying this was the result of taking out the gain the bank made on its sale of BGI, and of comparing the performance of “continuing operations”. No, I’ve no idea what that means either: but the bottom line is that in 2009, it suited the bank to post big profits, and this year it suits the bank to shrink those past profits. It’s a three-card trick, pure and simple.Equally shifty was Diamond’s attempt to show that, despite profits having gone ‘up’, pay and bonuses had gone ‘down’. Here, it is even easier to show that his claims are complete bollocks…’
‘As you may have noticed, Barclays CEO Bob Diamond spent a two hour stretch last month looking down his nose at an MPs Committee (he was right to – their performance was awful to behold) before deciding to cut out the monkeys and simply threaten the organ-grinder in Downing Street…’
‘Three weeks ago, French Establishment paper Le Figaro claimed ‘the authorities suspect that key traders [at Barcap] used Treasury information via the main branch dealing with the UK Treasury[to manipulate the LIBOR rate]’. At the time, the Barcap investment division was headed by the Barclays CEO today, Bob Diamond. Diamond last appeared in Court last February, when the Lehman estate accused Barcap of having undervalued the broken company. Judge James Peck referred to Diamond’s evidence at the time as ‘devious’. Peck even advised Lehman’s lawyer, “This is a witness that needs to have the leash held tight.”’
The loveliness of the Diamond Geezer goes on and on, but there he is still walking about free as a bird after his bank was fined a record £290 million for repeatedly distorting basic financial data which are used to set interest rates on millions of loans and other transactions around the world…aka, manipulating the rate in their favour to avoid the Bank going order. He was the CEO of Barcap then, he’s the CEO of the whole shooting match now, but he ain’t facing trial. Because he’s foregone his bonus. Bless.
However, he is facing “calls to resign”. Not calls to attend Bow Street nick, “calls to resign”. And in unrelated news, 4,000 demonstrators in Croydon faced calls for their resignation this afternoon. They apologised for torching three streets and said they would forego their welfare dosh this month, on account of having been banged up in the Scrubbs so fast squire, their feet didn’t touch.
Money is no longer just power: money gives you immunity from the law. It always did, but not in quite the brazen way that Diamond seems to pull it off. His pep-talk to the staff via intranet, mind you, was a Lulu: Slog mole Pedro Recent listen in to it, and has given me the full match report…the highlights go like this:
“Mah fellow Barclayans, it is sort of a Goddamm shame what some people will get up to putting the company at risk an’ all, but mainly it’s real kinda disappointin’ that the CEO of this company is a crook, and let me tell you that when we find this son of a …oh, wait a minute, I’m Bob Diamond. Aw shucks.”
If you’re Bulgarian and you live in Varna, yesterday was a disappointment. There you were, having a quiet class of Suindhal Merlot in anticipation of a ratings upgrade from S&P, and all they did was confirm you at BB. What a bbbbummer.
But then, worse news: the good burghers of rival city Stara Zagora (“We spit on Stara Zagora, it is full of idiots and ne’er-do-wells”) got upgraded to BB+. This is like watching Wayne Rooney get upgraded to First Class: both mystifying, irritating, and unjustifiable under the circumstances.
Moody’s last week confirmed Russia and declared it to be in great shape. Which is funny really, because I did a survey around the back streets of Zaragossa last week, and it’s very clear to me that Spain is in terrific shape and merely the unfortunate target of international speculators. I’d rate them AA+ on the beggar count, AAA on nobody jumping off buildings, and AAb(b+) on taking penalties. If anyone right now thinks Russia is ‘safe’ then they clearly haven’t noticed an economy massively overdependent on oil with a global depression almost upon us, the increasing influence of the mafia, the breakdown of democracy there, and property borrowers with name like Donald Duck owing money to RBS, the unfortunate recipients of a glitch caused by Indian incompetence. Those Indians, eh? Typical.
Stick with it, it can only get worse.