The Bank of England has been implicated in fixing Libor rates by a BBC Panorama documentary called The Big Bank Fix which aired last night.
The programme featured a 2008 phone call between two senior Barclays bankers, with one saying the Bank of England was pressuring them into lowering the rate it offered for Libor – the interest rates banks charge one another for short-term loans.
Bankers from Barclays and UBS have already been jailed for rigging the Libor rate.
The BBC questioned the evidence given to parliament by former Barclays boss Bob Diamond and ex-deputy Bank of England governor Paul Tucker, who both claimed they’d only just discovered bankers were rigging the Libor rate.
In a phone call senior Barclays manager Mark Dearlove told Libor submitter Peter Johnson to lower his Libor rates.
He said: “The bottom line is you’re going to absolutely hate this… but we’ve had some very serious pressure from the UK government and the Bank of England about pushing our Libors lower.”
“So I’ll push them below a realistic level of where I think I can get money?
“The fact of the matter is we’ve got the Bank of England, all sorts of people involved in the whole thing.
“I am as reluctant as you are… these guys have just turned around and said just do it.”
As well as the phone call the BBC found a US Department of Justice document which appeared to show that Paul Tucker began pressuring Barclays to lower its Libor rates from 1 September 2007.
Chris Philp MP, who sits on the Treasury committee, said on the programme: “It sounds to me like those people giving evidence, particularly Bob Diamond and Paul Tucker were misleading parliament, that is a contempt of parliament, it’s a very serious matter and I think we need to urgently summon those individuals back before parliament to explain why it is they appear to have misled MPs. It’s extremely serious.”
He went on to speculate whether there was “a more systematic and ongoing attempt by the Bank of England to put pressure on Barclays”.