Exclusive: Barclays' Diamond turns to top lawyer for Libor scandal

LONDON/WASHINGTON Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:20am EDT

1 of 2. Barclays bank former Chief Executive Bob Diamond arrives at Portcullis House to attend a Treasury select committee hearing in Westminster, London July 4, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Barclays' embattled former chief executive Bob Diamond is being represented by top white-collar defense lawyer Andrew Levander in a widening scandal over the manipulation of benchmark interest rates, people familiar with the matter said.

More than a dozen current and former employees of several large banks under investigation have hired defense lawyers over the past year, but Levander's role is one of the most high-profile.

Levander, a partner at the law firm Dechert LLP, is one of the biggest names in the defense bar in the United States. He is currently also representing former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine in investigations into the collapse of the failed commodities brokerage he ran, MF Global.

Levander, who is known for his trademark bow ties, had a prime seat by Corzine when the former CEO was grilled multiple times at congressional hearings in Washington late last year.

He has also represented outside directors of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain and hedge-fund manager and philanthropist Ezra Merkin, who was sued over money lost in the Ponzi scheme run by Bernard Madoff.

A person representing Diamond declined to comment. A spokesman for Barclays Plc (BARC.L) declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Dechert declined to comment.

It is unclear when Diamond hired Levander and Dechert.

Barclays (BARC.L) last month agreed to pay $453 million to settle charges that it manipulated Libor -- the London interbank offered rate, which is compiled from estimates by large international banks of how much they believe they have to pay to borrow from each other.

No individuals have yet been charged in the sprawling Libor probe, which involves several global banks and enforcement authorities.

Diamond resigned as Barclays chief executive less than a week after the settlement, which unleashed a furor in the UK.

British lawmakers on Tuesday accused him of misleading a parliamentary inquiry into the Libor scandal, an allegation that Diamond denied.

Diamond had been CEO since the start of 2011, and been at Barclays for 16 years.

Libor is used for $550 trillion of interest rate derivatives contracts, as well as influencing rates on mortgages, student loans and credit cards.

(Reporting By Aruna Viswanatha in Washington and Steve Slater in London; Editing by Karey Wutkowski and Tim Dobbyn)

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Comments (6)
whatshisname wrote:
Just because these crooks, especially Corzine, have good lawyers so they can escape punishment?

No wonder the same crimes(cheating on customers’ money, rate fixing, books cooking like in Greece…..)keep resurfacing again and again. No one has gone to jail for all those crimes and so what do you expect will happen again? The crooks will commit the same crimes again as “heads they win, and tails they also win”. The President is sleeping on his job although he has been trying to sound so convincing in front of the teleprompters.

Jul 12, 2012 11:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
puzzled wrote:
What is eve better and should have been mentioned by the author is that Barclays (and its shareholders) will all be indemnifying Diamond et al for their legal bills – think its a joke? Rajat Gupta was indemnified for over $32mm in legal bills for his insider trading case by Goldman Sachs – Frank Quatronne cost CSFB close to $100mm between trials, appeals and God knows what else…. so guess what – not only can you be a crook for the bank, you’ve also got the best protection money can buy backing you up when you get caught – its repulsive and self perpetuating.

Jul 13, 2012 2:47am EDT  --  Report as abuse
bob-uk wrote:
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whatshisname wrote:The President is sleeping on his job………….

If both houses are controlled by the Republicans how can he ever get through legislation aimed at regulating crooks in big corporations!?

Jul 13, 2012 2:48am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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