"A cesspit." That's how the usually measured Paul Tucker, deputy governor of the Bank of England, described banks' attempts to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, or Libor.
Faced by a throng of sound-bite-hungry British Parlamentarians, on Monday Mr. Tucker did a convincing job of rebuffing allegations that the authorities had put pressure onBarclays BARC.LN +2.69% PLC to manipulate Libor, the world's most important interest rate.
Mr. Tucker may, in the process, have saved his chances of taking the helm at the British central bank (but more on that later) while providing a pithy description of the scandal.
Not as pithy, mind you, as the oft-stated "no jerks" policy espoused by Robert Diamond before he was ousted as Barclays' chief executive over the Libor mess. Unfortunately, some derivatives traders and interest-rate setters at the U.K. bank never got Mr.Diamond's message.