Barclays Bank Boss Keeps His Pay

LONDON -- Despite the LIBOR rate-fixing scandal, ex-Barclays (ISE: BARC.L) boss Bob Diamond is to receive his full salary and benefits for the year, worth more than 2 million pounds.

But he will forgo bonuses that could have been worth up to 20 million pounds, we were told this morning. Questioned by a committee of MPs investigating the case that saw bank derivatives traders conspiring to manipulate the crucial short-term interbank lending rate, Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius said Diamond had voluntarily declined to take his bonus. Any other action would, surely, have resulted in outrage.

LIBOR investigation
Barclays is the first of the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) banks to be punished, being hit with fines totaling 290 million pounds, but others are still under investigation, and criminal charges may be forthcoming after the Serious Fraud Office launched a criminal investigation.

The affair has been rumbling on for some time, with Royal Bank of Scotland (ISE: RBS.L) having sacked some members of staff suspected of being involved. RBS is now also under investigation, along with Lloyds Banking Group (ISE: LLOY.L) , Citigroup (NYS: C) in the U.S., and Germany's DeutscheBank.

Even without the LIBOR rate scandal, and had Barclays been performing brilliantly, there are many who would still consider a bonus package worth a potential 20 million pounds to be outrageous. But thankfully, after many fat cat pay revolts, shareholders are finally set to get a binding say on how much their executives are to be paid, thanks to recently announced legislation.

But they'll be worth buying one day, won't they?
But what about Barclays shares? Share prices tend to be at their lowest when the news is bad, and currently things seem about as bad as one can imagine for Barclays (though banks do have a habit of surprising even the most hardened pessimist). Are we in a time of maximum pessimism and should we be buying the shares now? My fellow Fool writer Prabhat Sakya seems to think so, having just bought some.

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At the time thisarticle was published Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Citigroup. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
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