Thursday 22 March 2018

Irish banks in UK under scrutiny as wide-ranging probe begins

Matt Falloon

IRISH banks operating in the UK could be drawn into the country's wide-ranging banking inquiry, which will look at issues such as culture and standards in the industry.

The UK parliament yesterday announced that it will investigate the interest-rate fixing scandal that has rocked London's banking sector as part of a wider inquiry.

"I want us to establish a full parliamentary committee of inquiry involving both houses," UK Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament, stopping short of giving further details on its full remit.

The UK government has come under increasing pressure to take a closer look at the bank sector, which has felt the force of public anger since taxpayers bailed out several banks during the 2008-9 financial crisis.


That pressure intensified last week when Barclays was fined for trying to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), used worldwide as a benchmark for prices on about $350trn (€278trn) of derivatives and other financial products.

The opposition Labour Party had threatened to trigger a vote in parliament on whether there should be a judge-led independent inquiry into the banking sector's excesses, culture and blunders. Labour leader Ed Miliband has called on Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond to resign after the bank's involvement in the scandal.

That case is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg, with several other banks under scrutiny for trying to manipulate Libor.

Barclays chairman Marcus Agius fell on his sword in an effort to stem the scandal, but critics said that is not enough and that the whole industry needs to change.

Irish Independent

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