Serious Fraud Office seeks to reinstate charges against Barclays


Barclays said the Serious Fraud Office has sought to reinstate charges against the banking giant relating to the lender’s emergency fundraising from Qatar at the height of the financial crisis. 

The bank plans to defend the application brought by the SFO, which alleges it gave Qatar Holding the loan ‘for the purpose of directly or indirectly acquiring shares in Barclays’. 

The Companies Act deems it unlawful for banks to lend money to themselves. The bank is accused of giving out a £2.2billion loan for the purpose of directly or indirectly acquiring shares in Barclays Plc.

The Serious Fraud Office has sought to reinstate charges against Barclays (pictured, the bank's Canary Wharf headquarters)

The Serious Fraud Office has sought to reinstate charges against Barclays (pictured, the bank's Canary Wharf headquarters)

The Serious Fraud Office has sought to reinstate charges against Barclays (pictured, the bank’s Canary Wharf headquarters)

The emergency fundraising at the centre of the SFO case allowed Barclays to avoid the fate of its bailed-out rivals Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Barclays pulled off an £11.8 billion fundraising package from Qatari backers and other investors in 2008 to sidestep the need for a Government rescue, which left Lloyds and RBS part-nationalised.

Money was pumped in by State-backed Qatari investors, as well as Abu Dhabi royals and investors from Singapore.

But the way the bank secured the Qatari investments has since been mired in controversy.

The Serious Fraud Office (pictured) has sought to reinstate charges against the banking giant relating to the lender’s emergency fundraising from Qatar

The Serious Fraud Office (pictured) has sought to reinstate charges against the banking giant relating to the lender’s emergency fundraising from Qatar

The Serious Fraud Office (pictured) has sought to reinstate charges against the banking giant relating to the lender’s emergency fundraising from Qatar

That included a £2.2 billion loan made to the State of Qatar acting through the Ministry of Economy and Finance in November 2008. 

The SFO had charged Barclays PLC with conspiracy to commit fraud and unlawful financial assistance, and Barclays Bank with unlawful financial assistance, over undisclosed fees paid to Qatar as part of a rescue deal that averted a possible state bailout at the peak of the financial crisis.

Barclays shares were trading 1.3 percent higher at 0909 GMT, outperforming a 0.7 percent rise in the FTSE 100.

In May this year the charges the SFO wants to reinstate were dismissed by Southwark Crown Court.  

They were the first criminal charges to be brought in the UK against a bank and its former executives for activities during the financial crisis.

As well as two charges of conspiring to commit fraud by false representations regarding advisory services agreements with Qatar Holding in 2008, there was a charge of unlawful financial assistance in relation to a three billion US dollar (£2.3 billion) loan provided by Barclays to the State of Qatar in the same year.  

The bank, Mr Varley, Mr Jenkins, and their two former colleagues, Mr Kalaris and Mr Boath, were all charged with conspiracy to commit fraud over the June 2008 fundraising.

The bank, Mr Varley and Mr Jenkins faced the same charge relating to the second fundraising in October 2008, while they were been charged with providing unlawful financial assistance.

The individuals are still facing charges, as the dismissal in May relates only to Barclays as a corporate entity. 

 



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