In the most recent round of mud-slinging and/or name-calling, the Bank of England has been attempting to distance itself from the Libor scandal.
BoE deputy governor Paul Tucker testified yesterday that no government official pressured him to instruct Barclays to lower their Libor submissions. And he also didn’t instruct Barclays to lower their Libor submissions. There was no instructing whatsover. Or implied instructing. Whatsoever.
To backtrack, this testimony follows the FSA Barclays report, which mentioned a note made by ex-Barclays CEO Mr Diamond after a phone-call with the Tucker.
In said note, he (Diamond) wrote that “while he [Tucker] was certain that we did not need advice*, that it did not always need to be the case that we appeared as high as we have recently**”.
Cue: Tucker rhetoric. All the side-stepping (“this gave the wrong impression”) and the moral outrage (“this cesspit”).
What Tucker says he would have liked the note to have said is***: “Are you ensuring that you, the senior management of Barclays, are following the day-to-day operations of your money market desk, your treasury? Are you ensuring that they don’t march you over the cliff inadvertently by giving signals that you need to pay up for funds?”
I myself can’t tell the difference.
If a representative from the Bank of England turned to me and mentioned anything that included the terms “libor submission”, “are you sure” and “too high” – I would have considered that an open invitation to lower the rates with their unofficial stamp of approval.
It seems that Paul Tucker is now out of the running to take over from Mr King as Governor of the Bank of England.
Well – you got caught.
*ie. “here’s my advice” [read between my lines]
**ie. “your rates are too high, so lower them” [read between my lines]
***it’s all beginning to get confusing in a very wordy sort of way.