By Steve Slater and Aruna Viswanatha
LONDON/WASHINGTON, July 12 Barclays' embattled
former chief executive Bob Diamond is being represented by top
white-collar defense lawyer Andrew Levander in a widening
scandal over the manipulation of benchmark interest rates,
Levander's law firm confirmed on Thursday.
More than a dozen current and former employees of several
large banks under investigation have hired defense lawyers over
the past year, but Levander's role is one of the most
Levander, a partner at Dechert LLP, is one of the biggest
names in the defense bar in the United States. He is currently
also representing former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine in
investigations into the collapse of the failed commodities
brokerage he ran, MF Global.
He has also represented outside directors of Lehman Brothers
Holdings Inc, former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain and hedge-fund
manager and philanthropist Ezra Merkin, who was sued over money
lost in the Ponzi scheme run by Bernard Madoff.
Levander, who is known for his trademark bow ties, had a
prime seat by Corzine when the former CEO was grilled multiple
times at congressional hearings in Washington late last year.
Diamond, too, has emerged as a central figure in the
unfolding interest rate scandal, having been pushed out less
than one week after Barclays agreed in June to pay $453
million to settle charges that it manipulated Libor.
Libor is the London interbank offered rate, which is
compiled from estimates by large international banks of how much
they believe they have to pay to borrow from each other.
British lawmakers on Tuesday accused him of misleading a
parliamentary inquiry into the Libor scandal, an allegation that
"Dechert has been representing Mr. Diamond on this matter
from the onset of the Libor investigation in 2010," a
spokeswoman for the firm said in a statement.
Another Dechert partner, Cheryl Krause, is also representing
Diamond, and sat behind him at the U.K. parliamentary inquiry
A spokesman for Barclays Plc declined to comment.
No individuals have yet been charged in the sprawling Libor
probe, which involves several global banks and enforcement
Diamond had been CEO since the start of 2011, and been at
Barclays for 16 years.
Libor is used for $550 trillion of interest rate derivatives
contracts, as well as influencing rates on mortgages, student
loans and credit cards.