Treasury Committee instructs Devereux Chambers’ Jonathan Fisher QC on Libor investigation

The Treasury Committee has turned to Devereux Chambers corporate and financial crime silk Jonathan Fisher QC to advise it on an investigation into the ongoing fallout from the Libor scandal.

Fisher will advise the parliamentary committee in its investigation into the banking community in the wake of the £290m fine levied against Barclays Bank for rigging interbank lending rates.

It is his first such role and Fisher has been instructed to advise on both the civil and criminal enforcement issues relating to the inquiry.

Fisher said: “My role is to advise the committee around issues such as how the penalty imposed by the FSA was calculated, whether the FSA sufficiently explored the route of criminal prosecution and whether it had the powers to do so.

“I have been providing the committee with guidance on the legal framework, ahead of its report.”

The Treasury Committee has taken evidence from a number of the key figures connected to the Libor scandal, including Barclays former CEO Bob Diamond and Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker.

The report should be published before the end of the summer.

Fisher said: “In general terms, I think the Libor case may be the high water mark as we move into an era of tougher enforcement. The committee’s investigation is part of that process.

“There is a general recognition that the light-touch regime has failed and it is quite clear the public will not accept this sort of conduct.”

Meanwhile, former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer senior partner Anthony Salz will chair a Barclays inquiry into its own culture and practices.

The exact details of the inquiry will be revealed in the next two days, but Salz, who is currently vice-chairman at the investment bank Rothschild, will appoint an external advisor – likely to be a major City law firm.

Barclays would not reveal which law firm will assist with the inquiry.

On the parallel interest rate mis-selling investigation, meanwhile, the FSA has announced that seven banks have volunteered to review their sales of products to small and medium businesses (2 July 2012).

There has been no FSA investigation and none of the banks are accused of mis-selling, but they have agreed to join the independent review.

Allied Irish Bank (UK), Bank of Ireland, Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks (part of the National Australia Group (Europe)), Co-operative Bank, Northern Bank and Santander UK have now signed up.

They follow Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS agreeing to a redress scheme for customers after the FSA found they had committed “serious failings”. (4 July 2012)