WASHINGTON -- A disgraced London banker has rescinded an offer to co-host a high-dollar fundraiser for Mitt Romney, sparing the GOP hopeful the difficulty of appearing at a lavish event with a man embroiled in scandal.
Romney's plan to hold a fundraiser in London this summer with Barclays CEO Robert Diamond was reported June 28 by the London Telegraph. The cost of the dinner seemed to shock the British paper, which noted that "the price of invitations dwarfs the amounts paid for such fund-raisers in British politics."
On Tuesday, Diamond resigned from Barclays after his bank was fined more than $450 million by British and U.S. authorities for attempting to manipulate the Libor rate (London interbank offered rate), a key global metric used to set everything from credit card to mortgage interest rates.
Before resigning, Diamond had already offered to sacrifice his bonus, but it wasn't enough to salvage his job, as pressure mounted for him to fall on his sword. The bank's stock was up on the news.
A spokeswoman for Romney referred HuffPost to comments in the Financial Times, which reported Tuesday that Diamond had proposed to excuse himself from the fundraiser even before he resigned. The fundraiser will go on with other hosts, as Romney will be in London for the Summer Olympics.
“Mr Diamond decided to step aside as a co-host for the upcoming London reception to focus all his attention on Barclays. We respect his decision,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the Financial Times.
Guests must pay between $25,000 and $75,000 for a seat at the meal with Romney, according to the Telegraph.
Even before Diamond was set to co-host the lavish event, Barclays was a big source of money for the Romney campaign. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, employees of the international bank have contributed $234,650 to Romney, making them the ninth biggest donor to the presumptive Republican nominee.
The campaign is also closely tied to the bank through Barclays' chief lobbyist, Patrick Durkin, who leads the campaign's fundraising efforts within the financial industry. In that role, Durkin has raised $927,160 for the campaign from other donors. He has also been featured at numerous roundtable events during which donors can talk to Romney advisers about policymaking in a future Romney administration.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Barclays' upper ranks are in turmoil:
The scandal is tearing through Barclays's top ranks. Two people close to the bank said Tuesday that Jerry del Missier, the chief operating officer, is likely to step down from his role. Monday, the bank said Chairman Marcus Agius would resign.
Mr. Agius will remain chairman while Barclays searches for his replacement -- and for a new chief executive, the bank said. Mr. Diamond will leave the bank immediately.
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