Bob Diamond, the controversial ex-Barclays boss, is reportedly poised to make a dramatic City comeback in his first move since quitting the bank in the wake of the Libor rate-rigging scandal.
Diamond - once described by Lord Mandelson as the "unacceptable face of banking" - is understood to be planning to create a new African-focused banking group, Atlas Mara, which could be listed on the London stock market before the end of the year. He was previously linked with plans to a new European equity trading platform, Aquis Exchange.
Diamond left Barclays in July last year after its £290 million settlement for attempted manipulation of the rates at which banks are prepared to lend to each other in the wholesale money markets. He was estimated to have got a £2 million pay-off on leaving Barclays and to have earned over £120 million since joining the Barclays board in 2005.
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Diamond is teaming up with Africa's youngest billionaire Ashish Thakkar, chief executive of Mara Group, with aims to raise around 250 million US dollars (£153 million) to buy a stake in a bank in Africa and build a business around it, according to the Financial Times.
The London-listed vehicle, reportedly set to be called Atlas Mara, would be managed by Atlas Merchant Capital, which Diamond set up in New York a few months ago.