Now, there's a story about how they were directly manipulating the market from 2005 onwards, which is very worrying, and has been the focus of most anger. Almost as a footnote, the BBC note
And between 2007 and 2009, during the height of the banking crisis, the staff put in artificially low figures, to avoid the suspicion that Barclays was under financial stress and thus having to borrow at noticeably higher rates than its competitors.
But what are the broader implications? Who did this harm specifically? During the financial crisis, Barclays managed to recapitalise without accepting significant state ownership - unlike RBS and Lloyds. Is it possible it avoided this simply because it was lying about the numbers?
On the other hand, perhaps, as suggested elsewhere, Barclays are simply the first to 'fess up and other banks were also in on it. Why then, collectively, did they do this? For how long have they been doing it? Was the sudden jump in LIBOR in 2008 that precipitated so much panic actually an unacknowledged adjustment to honest values? If so, wouldn't we have had much more warning if rates had started rising sooner?
The BBA said last month [April 2008] that it would throw out any member found deliberately understating rates.
No prizes for guessing whether that's really going to happen.