Lawsuits 
in US drag on image rebuilding at Barclays

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Barclays has revealed more lawsuits in the United States, making it harder for the lender to rebuild its reputation damaged by the central role it played in the interest rate-rigging scandal shaking banks.

Despite this latest blow, Barclays’ profit of more than £4bn in the first six months of the year beat forecasts. The bank said its performance during July was ahead of last year and there had been no exodus of clients,

Barclays faces more US lawsuits after a record £290m fine last month for rigging the Libor interest rate benchmark, sparking fierce criticism about its culture and risk-taking.

More than a dozen other banks are expected to be drawn into the global Libor investigation and could also be fined.

Chairman Marcus Agius said: “We are sorry for the issues that have emerged over recent weeks and recognise that we have disappointed our customers and shareholders.

“I am confident we can, and will, repair the reputational damage done to our business in their eyes and those of all our stakeholders,” he said, reaffirming a commitment to deliver a return on equity of 13 per cent.

Barclays is searching for a new chief executive and chairman after they quit following the Libor scandal.

Mr Agius said the board is focused on filling those positions, but gave no update on timing.

Investors are keen for one or both of the chief executive and chairman to come from outside so they can implement a far-reaching overhaul.

Mr Agius said a new chairman should be chosen first, so the new chief executive knows who will be in the chair.

Former J.P. Morgan banker Bill Winters is favourite to be chief executive and former UK Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell is front-runner for chairman.

An inquiry into the Libor scandal showed that Britain’s financial regulator had warned Barclays four months earlier that its culture was too aggressive and must change.

It exposed a strained relationship with regulators and as the backlash built the Bank of England effectively forced Bob Diamond to resign as chief executive.

Mr Agius has taken on executive duties for now.

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