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I'm buying more Barclays shares, says ousted boss Diamond

Barclays bank former Chief Executive Bob Diamond arrives at Portcullis House to attend a Treasury select committee hearing in Westminster, London July 4, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

By Steve Slater

LONDON (Reuters) - Bob Diamond, who was ousted last year as the boss of British bank Barclays Plc (BARC.L), said it has grown stronger since he left and he plans to buy shares in its 6 billion-pound ($9.6 billion) rights issue.

"I'm buying my rights, I'm bullish on Barclays ... Barclays has become a better and stronger institution," Diamond said on CNBC television on Friday.

"It's got good strong new leadership in (Chief Executive) Antony Jenkins and (Chairman) Sir David Walker."

Diamond was awarded millions of shares in his 16 years at Barclays and owned 13.2 million at the end of 2011, which is the last publicly available data. If he took up all his rights, it would cost him 6.1 million pounds ($9.8 million).

Barclays is offering shareholders to buy one new share at 185 pence for every four owned. It is raising capital to meet tougher rules on leverage introduced by UK regulators.

Diamond was forced out in July 2012 after his bank was fined for rigging Libor interest rates and was shown to have had a frosty relationship with UK regulators for some time.

After building up its investment bank over more than a decade, Diamond became chief executive at the start of 2011.

The American was one of the world's best paid bankers for many years, and the Sunday Times newspaper's Rich List 2012 estimated he amassed about 105 million pounds during his career.

Diamond told CNBC he could have implemented reforms around citizenship more quickly during his time in charge of Barclays, and been quicker to integrate operations and technology, which is a key aim of his successor Jenkins.

Diamond said regulators have not yet solved the problem around "too big to fail" banks, and said the focus should be on implementing a strong mechanism for winding up banks that run into trouble.

"I think the single most important thing - if we're able to say 'no taxpayer money ever again' - is to have an effective, rigorously tested resolution and recovery plan that's accepted by the major governments around the world," Diamond said. ($1 = 0.6249 British pounds)

(Editing by Chris Vellacott and Anthony Barker)