Serious Fraud Office charges Barclays over 2008 rescue deal

The Serious Fraud Office has today charged Barclays and four individuals with conspiracy to commit fraud and the provision of unlawful financial assistance contrary to the Companies Act 1985.

The charges relate to Barclays capital raising arrangements with Qatar Holding LLC and Challenger Universal Ltd, which took place at the height of the financial crisis in June and October 2008, and a $3 billion loan facility made available to the State of Qatar acting through its Ministry of Economy and Finance in November 2008.

To avoid a government bailout at the time, Barclays took a £12bn loan from Qatar Holdings, which is owned by the state of Qatar.

Under that deal Barclays loaned £2.3bn back to Qatar Holdings.

The SFO alleges that loan was used either directly, or indirectly, to buy shares in Barclays, which the SFO says is “unlawful financial assistance”.

The SFO has brought the following charges:

  • Conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in relation to the June 2008 capital raising, contrary to s1 and s2 of the Fraud Act 2006 and s1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 – Barclays Plc, John Varley, Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath.
  • Conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in relation to the October 2008 capital raising, contrary to s1 and s2 of the Fraud Act 2006 and s1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977     – Barclays Plc, John Varley and Roger Jenkins.
  • Unlawful financial assistance contrary to s151 of the Companies Act 1985 – Barclays Plc, John Varley and Roger Jenkins.

Responding to the SFO announcement, Barclays said: “Barclays PLC and Barclays Bank PLC intend to defend the respective charges brought against them.

“Barclays does not expect there to be an impact on its ability to serve its customers and clients as a consequence of the charge having been brought.”

The defendants will appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court at 14.00 on 3 July 2017.

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