On Tuesday, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office announced that it was charging Barclays along with four other former top executives. Some undisclosed payments to Qatari investors are reportedly the reason for all of this. It all supposedly happened back in 2008, during a $15 billion emergency fundraising. SFO charged Barclays with conspiracy to commit fraud and unlawful financial assistance. This makes it the first bank to face criminal charges because of what happened during the financial crisis from a few years ago.
Barclays, the first criminally-charged bank
According to a statement from Barclays, the ban is currently considering its position and waiting more information about those charges. It’s worth noting that the Serious Fraud Office also charged four other former top executives of the bank. They are Varley, Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath. The office took this decision after thoroughly investigating a fundraising which had to do with a $3 billion Barclays loan to the Gulf state. One of Jenkins’ lawyers said that he will do everything he can to defend his client who, at the time, supposedly received legal advice from both internal and external sources.
If found guilty, the four men will face up to 10 years of jail time. They are also the most bankers to be charged in Britain over actions committed during the financial crisis. Barclays could also receive a fine. It’s actually the first bank to face prosecution since David Green became head of the SFO back in 2012. The investigation of the SFO focused on commercial agreements between Barclays and some Qatari investors. This all reportedly happened during two emergency fund raisings in June and October, right when the crisis was at its peak.
Two fund raisings are to blame
It’s also worth noting that Qatar Holding and Challenger both invested around 5.3 billion pounds in Barclays, at the time. Authorities have reportedly analyzed whether or not payments from Barclays to Qatar as well as the multi-billion-dollar loan were true and properly disclosed. Meanwhile, Qatar remains Barclays’ biggest shareholder. It has a stake of about 6%, and has made a lot of profit from tis investment. It’s interesting that even if Barclays’ is in trouble, nobody has accused the Gulf state of anything, a bizarre situation considering its involvement.
Image source: flickr