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British lawmakers demand bank changes in Libor report

Former Barclays Bank chief executive Bob Diamond leaves after giving evidence to the British Treasury Select Committee in London, on July 4. The head of the inquiry into the Libor rate-rigging scandal has attacked Diamond for giving "highly selective" evidence, as its report was published Saturday

Lawmakers have called for "urgent improvements" in the way British banks are run and regulated in a report into the Libor rate-rigging scandal that rocked Barclays published Saturday.

Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP who chaired the Treasury select committee inquiry, said it had called for "action in a number of areas" in a report entitled "Fixing Libor: some preliminary findings".

"Public trust in banks is at an all time low," Tyrie said. "Urgent improvements, both to the way banks are run, and the way they are regulated, is needed if public and market confidence is to be restored."

These included "higher fines for firms that fail to co-operate with regulators, the need to examine gaps in the criminal law, and a much stronger governance framework at the Bank of England", Tyrie added.

"The sustained rigging of a crucial benchmark rate has done great damage to the UK's reputation," Tyrie said.

Libor, or London Interbank Offered Rate, is a flagship London instrument used as an interest benchmark throughout the world.

The rates affect what banks, businesses and individuals pay to borrow money, while the scandal risks engulfing banks across the world.

Barclays was fined £290 million ($453 million, 369 million euros) in June by British and US regulators after admitting it attempted to manipulate the Libor and the related Euribor rates between 2005 and 2009.

The London-listed bank is looking for a new chief executive after US national Bob Diamond quit the post at the start of July along with chairman Marcus Agius and chief operating officer Jerry del Missier.