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Wolverhampton firm wins £40m Barclays payout

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

A company in Wolverhampton is to receive a payout worth about £40 million after settling out of court with Barclays over the alleged mis-sale of a controversial rate swap product.

Graiseley Properties in High Street, Wednesfield, which owns Guardian Care Homes, took legal action against the bank over loans that were made to it in 2007 and 2008.

The multi-national bank sold Graiseley an interest rate swap linked to the Libor interest rate, which is the rate that banks loan to each other.

It was supposed to protect the customer from increases in interest rates but Graiseley said that failed to happen and ended up costing it millions of pounds more than expected.

Graiseley argued the deal was invalid because the bank's traders had tried to manipulate the Libor rate.

News of the settlement means a test case involving the Wolverhampton company, which had been due to be heard at the High Court in London, will be avoided and £70m of Graiseley's debt owed to Barclays will be re-organised.

The settlement, which is the first of its kind, will also mean that it will be easier for other firms to make similar claims against banks.

The two directors of the company, Peter Cooke and Gary Hartland, said they were sold the 20-year swap products on a £41m loan in in 2007 for subsidiary Graiseley Investments Ltd and a £29m loan to Graiseley Properties Ltd the following year.

Full details of the settlement with the care home group, which has more than 30 homes and employs 1,000, have not been made public.

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Between January 2005 and June 2009, Barclays international traders made a total of 257 requests to fix Libor and Euribor, the European equivalent rate, according to a damning report by the Financial Services Authority.

The scandal ultimately led to the resignation of former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond and fines for the bank totalling £290 million imposed by UK and US authorities.

If the case had subsequently gone ahead, senior executives, including Mr Diamond, would have faced appearing in court to give evidence.

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