By Simon Miller
Barclays chairman Marcus Agius has tendered his resignation as the fallout from the bank's fines for London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) manipulation continues.
Agius, who is also the chairman of the British Bankers' Association which compiles the Libor rate, was due to step down next year but has taken the decision after Barclays was fined £59.5m for misconduct relating to Libor and the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor) by the Financial Services Authority.
In addition, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission handed the bank a $200m (£128m) penalty for "attempted manipulation of and false reporting concerning Libor and Euribor benchmark interest rates", while the bank also agreed to pay a $160m penalty as part of an agreement with the US Justice Department.
In a statement, Agius said he was "truly sorry that our customers, clients, employees and shareholders have been let down. Barclays is full of hard working, talented individuals whose integrity is not in question".
He added: "Last week's events – evidencing as they do unacceptable standards of behaviour within the bank – have dealt a devastating blow to Barclays reputation. As chairman, I am the ultimate guardian of the bank's reputation. Accordingly, the buck stops with me and I must acknowledge responsibility by standing aside."
The bank is attempting to stem the criticism of its actions which has seen it condemned by all sides of the political spectrum.
It has launched an independent audit which will "undertake a root and branch review of all the past practices" that have been "revealed as flawed" since the credit crisis and will lead to a mandatory code of conduct at Barclays.
The bank added: "We will establish a zero-tolerance policy for any actions that harm the reputation of the bank."