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Bob Diamond Reveals: 'I Never Set Money As A Goal'

02/05/2013 16:46 BST | Updated 02/07/2013 10:12 BST

Bob Diamond, the bank chief who quit in the wake of the Libor-rigging scandal, has claimed he knew nothing about how the interbank interest rate was set while he was in charge at Barclays, and revealed his resentment at being forced out.

In a New York Times interview, Diamond sought to distance himself from the furore that led to his resignation as chief executive of the bank last year.

The 61-year-old American - who has now moved back to the US and is pictured in the article standing on a crowded subway train - said he had tried to "move on" from the episode that saw him excoriated by MPs and prompted a radical revamp of the top tier of Barclays.

But in the interview he sought to play down any impression that he enjoys a lavish lifestyle, saying he has no "fancy cars". Diamond has created a family foundation which gives millions of pounds to education projects.

bob diamond

Diamond: 'This is going to sound arrogant as hell but I never did anything for money'

He claimed that he had never been motivated by financial gain - a claim he admitted would raise eyebrows.

"This is going to sound arrogant as hell but I never did anything for money. I never set money as a goal. It was a result."

After he quit, Chancellor George Osborne said he hoped it was "the first step towards a new culture of responsibility in British banking".

Diamond left the bank in July after the scandal, which related to the manipulation of the rates at which banks are prepared to lend to each other in the wholesale money markets.

Barclays traders gave false information about the rate - which ultimately affects the cost of loans and mortgages - partly in order to paint a rosier picture of its own financial health. The bank was left having to pay penalties from UK and US regulators totalling £290 million.

But in the new interview, Diamond said: "Do you want the truth? Up until all of this, I didn't even know the mechanics of how Libor was set.

"If you asked me who at Barclays submitted the rate every day, I wouldn't be able to tell you. I bet you if you asked any chief executive of any bank on the street, they would give you the same answer."

The bank chief came under intense pressure to resign last year after Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King said he no longer had the support of regulators, MPs have heard.

But Diamond revealed how he bridled at being told he had to go when Barclays chairman Marcus Agius and another director visited him at home immediately after meeting Sir Mervyn.

"My first reaction, which is still my reaction today, is, 'he doesn't have the authority to do that'."

The article describes how the former master of the universe now has to take the subway to his office in Manhattan and to queue for coffee from a trolley - though he still has the comfort of a 37 million dollar (£23.8 million) apartment beside Central Park.

Diamond, once described as the "unacceptable face of banking", walked away from Barclays with a £2 million pay-off and was estimated to have earned at least £120 million since joining the bank's board in 2005.

Other comments indicated that Diamond was struggling to adapt to life without an entourage of helpers.

"All of a sudden, if you scream fire, there's no one there," he said, before adding: "I think it's been very positive and kind of liberating."