UK Fraud Office charges Barclays over Qatar fund-raising

Andrew Cummings
June 20, 2017

Barclays and four former senior executives have been criminally charged in a high-profile United Kingdom investigation into undisclosed payments to Qatari investors during a 12 billion pound ($15.4 billion) emergency fund raising in 2008.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said it had brought the charges against the bank itself as well as ex-chief executive Mr Varley, 61, Roger Jenkins, also 61, who is the former executive chairman of Investment Banking and Investment Management in the Middle East and North Africa for Barclays Capital, as well as two former senior executives, Thomas Kalaris, 61, and Richard Boath, 58.

- Barclays' fundraising, which allowed it to avoid a government bailout during the financial crisis, involved a $3 billion loan facility made to the gulf state.

Barclays has also been charged with one offence of unlawful financial assistance contrary to section 151 (1) of the Companies Act 1985. A London court hearing is scheduled for July 3.

All have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in relation to the June 2008 capital raising. Barclays said it paid GBP322 million in "advisory services" to Qatari investors, which wasn't initially disclosed after the capital was raised.

Barclays said it was considering its position over the charges and awaited further information. It's significant as the first set of charges brought against a major United Kingdom bank for crisis-era activity. Boath and Kalaris each face one fraud count.

The Barclays case is a major test for the SFO, which has in recent years failed to successfully prosecute a number of high profile bribery and corruption cases. The Barclays case will be particularly scrutinized as so far no top bank executives in the United Kingdom have been charged with crimes linked to their actions during the financial crisis.

It added that the City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), had reopened its investigation while United States authorities were continuing their own inquiries.

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