LIBOR is the London Interbank Offered Rate, the benchmark interest rate for the banking industry at all levels. (I have had credit cards in which the interest rate was determined by adding X, where X is some absurd quantity, to LIBOR on a specific date.) It is inconceivable that LIBOR should be screwed with, so inevitably it was:
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission says Barclays tried to influence the interest rates as early as 2005, before the world financial crisis broke. Barclays employees urged other banks to participate in the attempted manipulation. And the CFTC says senior Barclays managers made false reports to protect the image of the bank during the financial crisis.
British and American regulators came down hard, or as hard as regulators are allowed to come down, fining Barclays $452 million. Since the bank has assets somewhere in the vicinity of $2 trillion and earns revenues well into the tens of billions every year, this is the economic equivalent of having to toss a dollar into the cuss jar.
Barclays boss Bob Diamond says he will not resign, though he did decline his annual £6.5 million bonus.