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Barclays' past wrongs could be coming back to haunt it

The bank avoided prosecution for breaking sanctions in 2010, but that is all at risk now

The resignation of Bob Diamond will be intended to finally draw a line under the Libor manipulation scandal, but it seems like a story which is likely to run much further than Barclays will ever be happy with. There is a chance the rate-fixing may now result in a US prosecution from 2010 being re-opened, according to reports from Bloomberg.

Tom Schoenberg writes that from March 1995 through to September 2006, the bank allowed and facilitated money transfers to states that the US had trade embargos with, including Iran, Sudan, Libya, Burma and Cuba. When it was caught in 2010, it negotiated a settlement with the US department of justice: it would pay a $298m fine, and avoid criminal prosecution.

At the time, many, including the judge presiding over the case, criticised the settlement as a "sweetheart deal", but while it allowed Barclays to keep its rap sheet clean, it did come with conditions, one of which was that the bank was not allowed to commit "any federal crime".

On May 30 this year, the Department of Justice and Barclays both submitted statements confirming that it was living up to the deal. The DoJ's report concluded "to date, the United States is not aware that Barclays has committed any federal crime during the term of the [deferred prosecution agreement]", while Barclays said it was "aware of no determination by the United States that it has committed any federal crime during the term of the DPA".

Now, Judge Sullivan, who presided over the original case, has asked both parties to explain how the Libor settlement affects that agreement. If it goes the wrong way for Barclays, they could well find that more than one old misdeed ends up hurting them this summer.

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.