July 6, 2012 / 8:11 PM / 6 years ago

Barclays looks at panel request for private letters

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays (BARC.L) is considering how to respond to a request to hand confidential letters to a panel of British lawmakers investigating the Libor interest rate-rigging scandal, the bank said on Friday.

The two letters, written to Barclays by Britain’s banking regulator, have been requested by the Treasury Select Committee, which has said it is seeking to gain insight into the culture at the bank.

“We are considering how to respond to their request,” a spokesman for the bank said. He gave no further details.

The letters from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) were mentioned by the head of the panel, Andrew Tyrie, during his questioning of former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond on Wednesday.

Tyrie said that he had heard the banking regulator had raised concerns about Diamond’s appointment in 2010 and he wanted to see the FSA’s letter to the bank from that time.

Diamond resigned on Tuesday after U.S. and UK regulators fined Barclays $450 million for attempting to rig the key Libor interbank lending rate, which underpins the pricing of a wide range of financial instruments and products.

The second letter referred to by Tyrie followed a Barclays board meeting in February.

    A person familiar with the matter said the FSA had told the Barclays board at the time that the bank needed to change its culture because it was seen as too aggressive.

    Tyrie did not say to whom the letters had been addressed. Neither Barclays nor the FSA gave any details as to their content.

    The FSA said it was up to Barclays to release the confidential documents.

    If Barclays provides the letters it would be up to Tyrie whether to make them public.

    Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Matthew Tostevin

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