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Sir Mervyn King: I Didn't Demand Barclays Fire Bob Diamond

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Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King has denied telling Barclays to fire former chief executive Bob Diamond but admitted he offered the lender "helpful" advice about the views of regulators.

Sir Mervyn has previously acknowledged telling Barclays chairman Marcus Agius that Mr Diamond had lost the confidence of regulators following the Libor-rigging scandal - a discussion which prompted Mr Diamond to resign.

But he insisted to Channel 4 News: "I didn't fire anybody. I had a conversation which I thought would be helpful for them in understanding how concerned the regulators were."

sir mervyn king

Sir Mervyn King has said he didn't ask for Bob Diamond to be fired

He added: "I said to them that I really wanted them to understand how concerned the regulators were.

"Sometimes you can hear the message from the regulators and not really engage in it.

"Sometimes it can be helpful to have a third party say 'Do you really understand how worried they are?' and I think they found that helpful."

Sir Mervyn, who was giving his first live TV interview, said: "I heard the concerns the regulators had and I wanted to impress upon the non-executive board of Barclays the regulators had real concerns."

Sir Mervyn also cautioned Chancellor George Osborne not to water down the proposals for reform of the UK's banks proposed in Sir John Vickers' review.

And following reports that the Government could miss its target of beginning to see national debt falling by 2015/16, Sir Mervyn said that would be acceptable only if the global economy was growing slowly.

He warned that any recovery would be slow and that the crisis in the eurozone had cast a "black cloud of uncertainty" over businesses around the world.

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