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Barclays threatens to implicate UK regulators in rate-rigging probe

Section: Daily Dispatches

The rats are starting to turn on each other. Eventually gold and silver market rigging may be mentioned as well.

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Barclays Chief Threatens to Hit Back

By Patrick Jenkins, Brooke Masters, and George Parker
Financial Times, London
Monday, July 2, 2012

Bob Diamond is threatening to reveal potentially embarrassing details about Barclays' dealings with regulators if he comes under fire at a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday over the Libor rate-setting scandal, according to people close to the bank's chief executive.

"If he is attacked, he will fight back," said one person familiar with preparations for the Treasury select committee hearing.

Such a confrontational tactic could aggravate the fraught relations between the bank and the authorities after Barclays paid L290 million to settle an investigation by UK and US regulators over the bank's involvement in manipulating key interbank lending rates.

... Dispatch continues below ...


Sona Discovers Potential High-Grade Gold Mineralization
at Blackdome in British Columbia -- 13.6g over 1.5 Meters

From a Company Press Release
November 22, 2011

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- With its latest surface diamond drilling program at its 100-percent-owned, formerly producing Blackdome gold mine in southern British Columbia, Sona Resources Corp. has discovered a potentially high-grade gold-mineralized area, with one hole intersecting 13.6 grams of gold in 1.5 meters of core drilling.

"We intersected a promising new mineralized zone, and we feel optimistic about the assay results," says Sona's president and CEO, John P. Thompson. "We have undertaken an aggressive exploration program that has tested a number of target zones. Our discovery of this new gold-bearing structure is significant, and it represents a positive development for the company."

Sona aims to bring its permitted Blackdome mill back into production over the next year and a half, at a rate of 200 tonnes per day, with feed from the formerly producing Blackdome mine and the nearby Elizabeth gold deposit property. A positive preliminary economic assessment by Micon International Ltd., based on a gold price of $950 per ounce over eight years, has estimated a cash cost of $208 per tonne milled, or $686 per gold ounce recovered.

For the company's complete press release, please visit:

On Monday, Marcus Agius, Barclays' chairman, confirmed his resignation and the government announced a twin probe into the Libor system and banking standards.

Barclays is facing a fierce backlash from politicians and some shareholders following its record fine. But the bank believes it has been unfairly singled out for criticism for reaching a settlement while 20 other banks are still embroiled in the probe.

According to two people close to Mr Diamond, the Barclays chief executive is furious that he and the bank have been blamed for "lowballing" the rates at which Barclays said it could borrow from rivals at the height of the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008. Bankers insist the authorities knew these rates were inaccurate but did not object at the time because of fears it could further destabilise already panicked markets.

Regulators "knew perfectly well those rates were not the ones where banks were prepared to lend to each other," said one senior banker at another institution. "They had all the evidence."

The settlement documents themselves allude to prior dealings with regulators over the issue. These include a conversation with the Financial Services Authority about "the extent that the Libors have been understated" and an October 2008 exchange, since revealed to have been between Mr Diamond and Paul Tucker, deputy governor of the Bank of England, in which Mr Tucker asked Mr Diamond why Barclays' Libor submissions were higher than those of other banks.

After that conversation, the settlement documents say, mid-level Barclays managers "mistakenly believed" that Barclays had been told by the BoE to reduce its Libor submissions. US settlement documents say that Mr Tucker did not give such an instruction and that Mr Diamond did not think he had done so.

On Monday, the UK's Serious Fraud Office said it was "considering whether it is both appropriate and possible to bring criminal prosecutions" of traders at Barclays and elsewhere who allegedly attempted to manipulate Libor. It will make a decision within a month.

In a letter to staff, Mr Diamond said: "No one is more sorry, disappointed, and angry about these events than I am." He added that Barclays' pay structures would be changed to reflect the lessons learnt.

George Osborne, chancellor of the exchequer, said Martin Wheatley, who oversees the conduct of financial institutions at the FSA, would lead an investigation into the functioning of the Libor rate, while Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative chairman of the TSC, would conduct a six-month parliamentary inquiry into banking standards.

Labour insists the review does not go far enough and is demanding a full public inquiry. Ed Miliband, Labour leader, also said it was insufficient that Mr Agius had resigned as Barclays' chairman. "I think there needs to be a more general change of leadership including the chief executive, Bob Diamond," Mr Miliband told ITV's Daybreak.

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Prophecy Platinum Announces Wellgreen Preliminary Economic Assessment:
38% Pre-Tax IRR, $3.0 Billion NPV, and a 37-Year Mine Life

Company Press Release

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada -- Prophecy Platinum Corp. (TSX-V: NKL, OTC-QX: PNIKF, Frankfurt: P94P) reports the results of an independent NI 43-101-compliant preliminary economic assessment for its fully owned Wellgreen nickel-copper-platinum group metals project in the Yukon Territory.

The independent assessment, prepared by Tetra Tech, evaluated a base case of an open-pit mine (with a mining rate of 111,500 tonnes per day), an on-site concentrator (with a milling rate of 32,000 tonnes per day), and an initial capital cost of $863 million. The project is expected to produce (in concentrate) 1.959 billion pounds of nickel, 2.058 billion pounds of copper, and 7.119 million ounces of platinum, palladium, and gold during a mine life of 37 years with an average strip ratio of 2.57.

The financial highlights of the preliminary economic assessment, shown in U.S. dollars, are as follows:

Payback period: 3.55 years
Initial capital investment: $863 million
IRR pre-tax (100% equity): 38 percent
NPV pre-tax (8% discount): $3 billion
Mine life: 37 years
Total mill feed: 405.3 million tonnes
Mill throughput: 32,000 tonnes per day

Prophecy Chairman John Lee says: "We are pleased with the preliminary economic assessment results. The numbers indicate that Wellgreen is one of most exciting mineral projects in the Yukon. The company is drilling to upgrade and expand the resource base. The infrastructure is excellent as the project is only 1,400 meters in altitude and 14 kilometers from the paved Alaska Highway, which leads to the Haines deep seaport. Discussions are under way with support from local stakeholders regarding permitting and logistics."

For the complete press release, please visit: