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Diamond apologizes for Barclays behavior

LONDON -- Robert Diamond, who quit Tuesday as chief executive officer of Barclays, apologized Wednesday for the "reprehensible" behavior at the bank that led to record fines for rigging interest rates.

"Clearly there were mistakes," Diamond, 60, said in testimony before Parliament's Treasury Select Committee in London. "Clearly there was behavior that was reprehensible."

Barclays, Britain's second-largest bank by assets, was fined a record $453.4 million on June 25 for rigging the London interbank offered rate. Lawmakers are trying to determine what Diamond knew about disclosures last week that Barclays tried to manipulate the benchmark for profit and to mask its difficulty borrowing money during the credit crisis.

Diamond said the backlash that has led to the resignations of senior managers and erased $5 billion from the London-based bank's market value is a consequence of the lender's being the first sanctioned for rigging interest rates.

The conduct was limited to 14 traders within a bank that employs about 2,000 traders, Diamond said. The behavior has been dealt with and "eradicated," he said.

In addition to Diamond, the LIBOR scandal has triggered the resignations of Barclays chairman Marcus Agius, 65, and chief operating officer Jerry Del Missier, 50.

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