July 1, 2012 at 4:37 PM ET
LONDON -- Barclays Plc Chairman Marcus Agius resigned Monday as the interest rate rigging scandal claimed its first major victim and threatened to widen to other banks, raising questions about the involvement of the Bank of England.
Agius said "the buck stops with me," as he quit the job he held for the past 5-1/2 years.
But many also think the buck may stop at the feet of CEO Bob Diamond following a $453 million fine for Barclays by British and U.S. regulators last week for submitting inaccurate submissions on the Libor interest rate.
"The buck in Barclays stops with Bob Diamond, and it is Bob Diamond who must accept responsibility," said John Mann, a Labour politician who is part of a panel of lawmakers who will grill Diamond on Wednesday and Agius on Thursday.
"He (Diamond) must resign. He's got to go. There is no role for people like him if banking is to be trusted again in this country and if British banking is to restore its tarnished reputation in the world, which of course is of great importance to our economy," Mann said on Sky News.
A key conversation held in October 2008 that was last week highlighted in documents about the scandal was between Bank of England (BoE) Deputy Governor Paul Tucker and Diamond, people familiar with the matter said.
Some people at Barclays mistakenly believed the bank had been granted permission to submit artificially low Libor estimates after that conversation, the documents released last week showed.
Barclays has admitted it submitted artificially low estimates of its borrowing costs from late 2007 to May 2009 because it thought rivals were doing the same and its higher submissions made it look troubled.
The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement of facts document released after the fine that a conversation between a senior BoE official and a senior Barclays official on October 29, 2008 had encouraged the bank's submissions to be low.
The DOJ document said as the substance of the conversation was relayed to other Barclays' employees, some mistakenly believed they had been instructed by the BoE to lower Libor submissions.
Barclays has also admitted that some of its traders attempted to manipulate the setting of the London interbank offered rate (Libor), which is used worldwide as a benchmark for setting prices on about $350 trillion of derivatives and other financial products.
More than a dozen other banks are being investigated in the long-running global probe by authorities in North America, Europe and Japan, including Citigroup , HSBC , UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland , and analysts and bankers expect more big fines.
Reuters contributed to this report.