Barclays bank and four former senior executives are facing fraud changes relating to money raised from Qatar during the financial crisis.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has charged the bank as well as former chief executive John Varley, Roger Jenkins, Tom Kalaris and Richard Boath with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in relation to fundraising in June 2008.
Varley, Jenkins and the bank also face charges of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation in relation to fundraising that took place in October 2008, and a further charge of providing unlawful financial assistance through the loan.
The charges brought by the SFO follow a five-year investigation into the £11.8bn emergency fundraising conducted by the bank in 2008.
In a statement , Barclays said it was considering its position and awaits further details of the charges from the SFO.
According to Reuters , the case centres on agreements between the bank and Qatari investors during fundraising activities in June and October 2008.
Around £5.3bn was invested in Barclays by Qatar Holding, part of the Qatar Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund, and Challenger, an investment vehicle of former Qatari prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani.
The SFO are investigating whether payments made from Barclays to Qatar at the same time were honest and properly disclosed, including around £322 million in advisory service agreements.
The Guardian reported that this is the first time criminal action has been taken against any senior bankers for events during the financial crisis.
A lawyer for Jenkins, who was paid £40m a year and left the bank in 2009 said he would “vigorously defend” himself, and added that his client had received internal and external legal advice at the time of the fundraising.
In a statement, the former head of the bank’s European financial institutions group, Boath said: “The SFO’s decision to charge me is based on a false understanding of my role and the facts. I was not a decision maker and had no control over what the bank did in 2008.
“The evidence I have supplied is very clear: there is no case for me to answer.”
A lawyer representing Varley declined to comment. A lawyer for Kalaris, who ran the wealth management arm of Barclays, could not immediately be reached for comment.
All four men, and a representative for the bank, have been told to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on July 3. Each offence of fraud by false representation carries a maximum jail sentence of 10 years.
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