Diamond Out of Romney Fundraiser

Photograph by Mark Lennihan/AP Photo

Robert E. Diamond Jr. of Barclays PLC.

Updated at 10:30 am EDT

Robert Diamond, who today stepped down as chief executive of Barclays Plc, will no longer co-host a London campaign fundraiser this month for presumptive U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul confirmed.

Diamond, 60, will step down as CEO immediately, the London-based bank said in a statement today, a day before he faces questions by British lawmakers. Diamond became CEO of Barclays on Jan. 1, 2011 after joining the bank in 1996.

Romney, who has had great success in fundraising among Wall Street bankers,  plans a fundraiser during his trip to London for the Summer Olympics starting there on July 27. He also plans a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel.


Patrick Durkin, who advocates in Washington for Barclays, is Romney’s top lobbyist bundler, according to a list the campaign filed with the U.S. Federal Election Commission. Durkin had collected $927,160 for the campaign through the end of May.

Supporters in the investment and securities industry contributed about $9.4 million to Romney’s campaign through the end of May, compared with at least $3.4 million that President Barack Obama has raised from them, according to the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.

Both Romney and Obama have held high-profile fundraisers featuring the biggest names on Wall Street.

Tony James, president of private-equity and real estate giant Blackstone Group LP, welcomed Obama to his apartment on New York’s Fifth Avenue for a fundraiser May 14. Three weeks later, Obama and former President Bill Clinton attended a fundraiser at the Upper East Side residence of Mark Lasry, founder of Avenue Capital Group LLC.

Romney, meanwhile, has counted on donors including hedge-fund managers Paul Singer of Elliott Management Corp., Renaissance Technologies LLC co-chief executive officer Robert Mercer and John Paulson of Paulson & Co., as well as Tiger Management LLC founder Julian Robertson and three of his former hedge fund managers, Lee Ainslie, John A. Griffin and Chris Shumway. Each has written checks to Restore Our Future, a super-political action committee backing Romney, in addition to the candidate.

Barclays was hit by a record 290 million-pound ($455 million) fine last week for rigging the benchmark for more than $360 trillion of securities. Diamond had yesterday defied pressure to quit, pledging to implement the findings of a review into how the bank sets the London interbank offered rate. U.K. regulators are weighing whether to start criminal probe into Libor-fixing.

Diamond stepped down a day after the government announced a parliamentary inquiry into the U.K. banking industry. He is due to be questioned by British lawmakers on the Treasury Select Committee tomorrow. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne welcomed Diamond’s resignation, telling BBC Radio 4 today he hoped it would be the first step towards a “new culture of responsibility” in British banking.

Read more about Diamond’s problems at Barclays at Bloomberg.com.





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