(NEW YORK) — The chairman of Barclays announced on Monday he was stepping down in the wake of allegations that the U.K.-based bank tried to manipulate worldwide interest rates for its own financial gain.
Last week, the world’s third largest bank was hit with $453 million in fines by U.S. and British regulators 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.
In a statement Monday, Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius said “last week’s events — evidencing as they do unacceptable standards of behaviour within the bank — have dealt a devastating blow to Barclays reputation. As Chairman, I am the ultimate guardian of the bank’s reputation. Accordingly, the buck stops with me and I must acknowledge responsibility by standing aside.”
He apologized for the allegations, saying he was sorry that “customers, clients, employees and shareholders have been let down,” and said that an audit will be launched on the bank’s business practices.
Agius will remain in his position at Barclays until a successor is chosen. The bank’s board will begin its search for a new chairman on Monday.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ivaylo Vezenkov and Lauren del Valle, CNN
Paul Menser, BizMojo Idaho
Julia Horowitz, CNN