Barclays, former executives charged for fraud over Qatar fundraising


United Kingdom’s largest lender, Barclays has been charged alongside its four former chief executives for alleged fraud during their fundraising for the bank.

The fundraising was in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis which almost pulled down the bank and many other financial services giants.

According to Bloomnerg, the Serious Fraud Office said Tuesday that former chief executive John Varley, former chairman of investment banking for the Middle East Roger Jenkins, ex-wealth chief Thomas Kalaris, and Richard Boath, the former European head of the bank’s financial institutions group, face charges along with Barclays.

The four men are the most senior UK banking executives charged since the financial crisis, which sent banks across the globe scrambling to raise funds to cover billions in losses. The case relates to fees Barclays paid to the Qatar Investment Authority and US$3 billion loan facility it made available to the nation while the bank raised £12bn from Qatari and other investors.

The five-year investigation is one of a number of lingering probes over the bank’s behavior dating back nearly a decade. Since the financial crisis, Barclays has faced probes ranging from the rigging of key benchmark rates to more recent scandals related to how executives dealt with whistle-blowers.

The London-based bank said it is “considering its position” in relation to the allegations. Barclays said that one of its main subsidiaries may face additional charges in the case.

The charges relate to Barclays’s capital arrangements with Qatar Holding, a subsidiary of the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, and Challenger Universal, an investment vehicle of the country’s then prime minister.

In addition to the SFO, the Qatar deals are being reviewed by the Financial Conduct Authority, which re-opened its probe earlier this year after more documents came to light. The regulator had previously fined the bank £50 million in relation to how it disclosed the fees paid to the Qataris.

Mr Varley and Mr Jenkins face three counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and unlawful financial assistance. Mr Boath and Mr Kalaris each face one fraud count. A London court hearing is scheduled for July 3.

A lawyer for the 61-year-old Mr Jenkins said his client will “vigorously defend against these charges.”

“As one might expect in the challenging circumstances of 2008, Mr. Jenkins sought and received both internal and external legal advice on each and every subject mentioned in the accusations leveled by the SFO today,” said Brad Kaufman, Mr Jenkins’ US based lawyer at Greenberg Traurig.

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