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Barclays CEO Bob Diamond Steps Down

Bruno Vincent/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Another top executive at Barclays has resigned amid allegations that the U.K.-based bank tried to manipulate worldwide interest rates for its own financial gain.

Bob Diamond announced on Tuesday he was stepping down as chief executive and director of Barclays with immediate effect.  His resignation comes a day after Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius announced he was leaving his position.

Reflecting on his 16 years at the bank, Diamond said in a statement, "My motivation has always been to do what I believed to be in the best interests of Barclays.  No decision over that period was as hard as the one that I make now to stand down as Chief Executive.  The external pressure placed on Barclays has reached a level that risks damaging the franchise -- I cannot let that happen."

[CLICK HERE TO READ HIS FULL STATEMENT]

The CEO said he's "deeply disappointed" by the impression the allegations have left on the bank and said he looks "forward to fulfilling my obligation to contribute to the Treasury Committee’s enquiries related to the settlements that Barclays announced last week."

Last Wednesday, Barclays reached a $453 million settlement with regulators in the U.S. and U.K. for trying to influence the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) -- the worldwide benchmark for interest rates -- for a period of years dating back at least until 2005.

The LIBOR rate is supposed to reflect the rate at which top banks in London lend to each other.  It is used in the U.S. and other nations to set rates for student loans, mortgage rates, credit cards and car loans.

Diamond is scheduled to appear before the Treasury Committee on Wednesday.  Barclays said the search for his successor will begin immediately and will be handled by Agius, who will become full-time chairman while the bank looks for a new CEO.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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