Diamond 'poised for City comeback'

Controversial former Barclays boss Bob Diamond is reportedly poised to make a dramatic City comeback in his first move since quitting the bank in the wake of the Libor rate-rigging scandal.

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Bob Diamond quit Barclays in the wake of the Libor-rigging scandal.

Controversial former Barclays boss Bob Diamond is reportedly poised to make a dramatic City comeback in his first move since quitting the bank in the wake of the Libor rate-rigging scandal.

Mr Diamond - once described by Lord Mandelson as the "unacceptable face of banking" - is understood to be planning to create a new African-focused banking group listed on the London stock market before the end of the year.

He is teaming up with Africa's youngest billionaire Ashish Thakkar, chief executive of Mara Group, with aims to raise around 250 million US dollars (£153 million) to buy a stake in a bank in Africa and build a business around it, according to reports.

Mr Diamond left Barclays in July last year after its £290 million settlement for attempted manipulation of the rates at which banks are prepared to lend to each other in the wholesale money markets.

The bank was the first to agree a penalty and took the brunt of the public and political anger over the scandal.

Mr Diamond quit amid intense pressure to resign after the then Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King said he no longer had the support of regulators, MPs heard.

But a raft of other players have since been hit with massive penalties - including state-backed rival Royal Bank of Scotland.

Mr Diamond is said to believe Africa will become one of the fastest growing areas of the world economy and has been spending many months flying around the world to get investors on board for his new venture.

His partner Mr Thakkar, 32, heads up a conglomerate with operations in 19 African countries.

The London-listed vehicle will reportedly be called Atlas Mara and will be managed by Atlas Merchant Capital, which Mr Diamond set up in New York a few months ago.

But the London flotation will be controversial, given his history.

He walked away from Barclays with a £2 million pay-off and was estimated to have earned at least £120 million since joining the bank's board in 2005.