Bob Diamond planning Square Mile comeback

Diamond was dubbed the “unacceptable face of banking” by former cabinet minister Peter Mandelson.

Bob Diamond, the controversial former boss of Barclays, is to return to the City with a firm focused on African banking.

"Diamond Bob" is hooking up with Africa's youngest billionaire, Ashish Thakkar, chief executive of African holding company Mara Group.

The pair are reportedly looking to raise US$250mln in a flotation on the London Stock Exchange.

The new company, known as Atlas Mara, could float before the end of the year and intends to use the money raised to buy a stake in an African bank.

Diamond, who has not commented on the newspaper reports, walked the plank at Barclays in July 2012, a week after the lender was fined a record £290 million after admitting that some of its traders tried to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), which is the benchmark for trillions of pounds worth of financial products.

Diamond said his decision to leave followed a furore that had reached the point where it risked damaging the bank’s franchise.

His salary plus bonuses and share options in 2011 topped £20 million, the highest sum for any FTSE 100 chief executive, despite the bonus terms being altered so he would only receive half of the payments unless the bank hit targets.

Diamond has largely been out of the public eye for some time but earlier this year set up Atlas Merchant Capital in New York.

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