LONDON Dec 8 Bob Diamond, the former boss of
Barclays, is set to return to banking by listing a
shell company in London in the next few weeks to invest in the
African financial sector, a source familiar with the matter
Diamond, who was ousted from Barclays last year after the
Libor rate-rigging scandal, is finalising plans to list Atlas
Mara, a cash vehicle set up with billionaire entrepreneur Ashish
Thakkar, chief executive of Mara Group, the source said.
The vehicle will be managed by Atlas Merchant Capital, the
merchant bank Diamond has set up in New York with a view to
expand into sub-Saharah African banks and financial services.
It is being advised by Citigroup, the source said.
Diamond, via a spokesman in London, declined to comment on
Sunday. Citigroup also declined to comment.
Diamond and Thakkar have approached investors with the aim
of raising $250 million, the Financial Times reported on
Saturday. Their vehicle plans to buy a stake in an African bank,
The Financial Times said that Atlas Mara plans to list its
shares on the London Stock Exchange in 10-15 days if the
roadshow and the capital raising goes as planned.
Diamond left Barclays in July 2012 after the bank was fined
$450 million for alleged manipulation of the Libor interbank
lending rate. It was the first bank fined, but since then
Switzerland's UBS, Royal Bank of Scotland and
Dutch lender Rabobank have been handed much bigger
Diamond was praised for building up Barclays' investment
bank into a global power over more than a decade, but since he
left it became clear that he had a poor relationship with
regulators who said he had "sailed too close to the wind" since
taking over as chief executive at the start of 2011.
Since leaving Barclays Diamond has kept a relatively low
profile, but he has made no secret of his plans to invest in
Africa, the location for much of his family foundation's work
and a continent considered ripe for strong banking growth
because much of the population does not have access to banking
Barclays and Standard Chartered have both said that
they expect strong growth from their African operations in the
Diamond could be required to appear as a witness in April in
a London court case relating to the alleged manipulation of
Libor, in which Barclays is being sued for alleged mis-selling
of products based on the benchmark interest rate.