Barclays and four of its most senior executives have been charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over the bank’s dealings with Qatar at the height of the financial crisis.
Qatar’s ruling families invested £7.3bn in Barclays in 2008, helping it to avoid the fate of Lloyds and RBS, which required government bail-outs and partial state ownership.
Former Barclays chief executive John Varley, a widely respected industry figure, is one of those charged, together with Roger Jenkins, former executive chairman of investment banking for the Middle East; former Barclays Wealth chief Thomas Kalaris; and the former European head of financial institutions, Richard Boath.
Shares fall briefly
Barclays’ shares fell briefly on Tuesday (June 20) to 205.05p from an early trading high of 206.7p after news broke of the SFO charges, but had recovered to 206.85p within half an hour.
The SFO charges relate to Barclays plc’s capital-raising arrangements with Qatar Holding and Challenger Universal Ltd in June and October 2008, and a $3bn loan facility made available to the State of Qatar in November 2008.
The SFO has charged Barclays Bank plc, Varley, Jenkins, Kalaris and Boath with 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, Varley and Jenkins are further charged with 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. They are also charged with providing unlawful financial assistance contrary to s151 of the Companies Act 1985.
The defendants will appear before Westminster magistrates on 3 July.
Mr Jenkins’ lawyer Brad Kaufman, of US law firm Greenberg Traurig, told Reuters that Jenkins would "vigorously defend" himself against the charges, and that his client had “sought and received both internal and external legal advice on each and every topic covered by the SFO's accusations”.
Barclays issued a statement saying it was "considering its position".
A civil claim has also been served on Barclays by PCP Capital Partners and PCP International Finance in relation to the November 2008 capital raising, which Barclays is defending.
A spokesman for the Financial Conduct Authority said: "We are pleased that this matter, which led to the stay of our own case, is now in the public domain. We welcome a fair and transparent hearing on the basis of the charges set out today by the SFO. We work closely with the SFO across a range of matters, in pursuit of our distinct objectives. ”